Diocesan News

$50,000 Reward Offered for Information Leading to Return of Stolen Tabernacle

The burglary was discovered during the afternoon of Saturday, May 28. (Photo: Diocese of Brooklyn)

Tablet Staff

PARK SLOPE — A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to the return of the tabernacle stolen from St. Augustine during Memorial Day weekend, Bishop Robert Brennan announced on Tuesday, July 5.

“We continue to pray for the one-of-a-kind Tabernacle, made possible by the original parishioners of St. Augustine, to be returned and then restored, in all its glory, to the heart of this church,” Bishop Brennan said.

“However,” he continued, “the theft of this historical item has not robbed the faith of the people of this parish.”

The company that insures properties in the Diocese of Brooklyn offered the reward, according to the diocese. This money is in addition to the $3,500 reward put up by the NYPD Crime Stoppers a month ago.

The burglary was discovered during the afternoon of Saturday, May 28. Police have said the break-in happened sometime between the evening of Thursday, May 26, and Saturday, May 28, at St. Augustine Church, which is located at 116 6th Ave. (on the corner of Sterling Place), in Park Slope.

Someone cut through a metal protective casing and made off with the tabernacle, which has been part of the church since it was built in the late 1800s. 

This ornate, holy sacramental receptacle, which is made of gold and silver, is irreplaceable due to its historical and artistic value, according to parish and diocesan officials. 

According to the NET-TV program “City of Churches,” the tabernacle was designed by architect Albert Parfitt in 1895. At the time, parishioners responded to their pastor’s appeal to help decorate it by donating personal jewels and diamonds as adornments.

The angels which flanked it were decapitated and destroyed as the thieves apparently struggled to extract it.

Marble shards and dust littered the floor and mingled with eucharistic hosts that were discarded during the crime.

“To know that a burglar entered the most sacred space of our beautiful church and took great pains to cut into a security system is a heinous act of disrespect,” Father Tumino said at the time of the burglary.

On June 4, Bishop Brennan joined Father Frank Tumino, pastor of St. Augustine-St. Francis Xavier Parish, at a Mass that blessed and purified St. Augustine Church in the wake of the desecration and burglary.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Bishop Robert Brennan blesses and purifies St. Augustine Church during a Mass June 4 in the wake of the desecration and theft of the tabernacle. (File photo)