Updated: Tabernacle stolen from Lourdes church found ruined

Frank Gale fgale@thewesternstar.com
Published on February 27, 2016
A tabernacle stolen Thursday night from Our Lady of Lourdes Church was found on Friday morning, damaged beyond repair.
Submitted photo

A tabernacle stolen Thursday night from Our Lady of Lourdes Church was found on Friday morning, damaged beyond repair.

Henry Gaudon, project manager for the parish, was at a loss to understand why someone would steal something considered sacred in the Catholic church.

A tabernacle is a fixed, locked box in which, in some Christian churches, the Eucharist is "reserved" (stored).

The Bay St. George RCMP received a report at 8:10 p.m. Thursday of a break, enter and theft into Port au Port Peninsula church. A television and wall mount were also reported stolen.

Gaudon said Fr. Gerard Patry went into the dimly lit church Thursday evening and noticed the tabernacle missing. Gaudon said the parish priest spotted two men in the building, who both left the scene. The tabernacle and television were already missing, so it’s not known how many times the two had already been in the church that evening.

Gaudon said the tabernacle weights about 50 pounds and was sitting on a side altar. The desecrated tabernacle was found nearby over the side of a bank around 9 a.m. Friday. He said the RCMP has since taken it for forensic investigation. The damages appear to have occurred from it being pried open.

Gaudon said a ciborium, a vessel that holds the sacrament or hosts, was found smashed to pieces, while a number of consecrated hosts strewn about.

He said value of the tabernacle alone is at least $5,000.

Const. Ken LaSaga of the Bay St. George RCMP said late Friday afternoon that no arrests have been made in relation to the theft, but the matter is still under active investigation.

Twitter: WS_FrankGale