By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Parishioners at St. Rose of Lima parish in Carbondale, Pennsylvania are in shock after learning that someone broke into their church for the sole purpose of stealing a ciborium full of consecrated hosts.
WNEP-TV is reporting that the incident occurred sometime during the evening of Aug. 4 when a thief entered the church through an open window. Monsignor David Tressler, pastor of the parish, said the only thing stolen was the most precious item in the church – the Blessed Sacrament.
“What has been taken is the Blessed Sacrament, which is our Holy Communion, which is the the source and summit of who we are , the body and blood of Christ,” Tressler told WNEP.
Apparently, the thief opened the tabernacle on the altar and removed the chalice containing consecrated hosts. It was the only thing taken.
While it has little monetary value, the Monsignor said, whoever took it was well aware of its spiritual significance.
“Why they’ve done it, I don’t understand but it’s such a violation to us as Catholics because of our strong beliefs in the real presence of Jesus Christ,” Fr. Tressler added.
Parishioners fear the worst. Betty Flood believes Satanists are behind the robbery. “The only thing I can think of is a cult. Devil worshipers. They desecrate the sacrament,” she said.
Fellow parishioner Cecelia Zapotosky was devastated by the news. “I couldn’t believe it. I could have just sat down and cried, I mean it was just so sad.”
Because the Eucharist was removed from the church, the crime is considered to be a desecration of the Blessed Sacrament, which means the bishop will have to come and bless the church again.
In the meantime, Carbondale police are asking anyone with information about the theft to contact them at 570-267-0098.
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