By Tablet Staff
PARK SLOPE — One week after the discovery of the desecration and burglary of St. Augustine’s tabernacle, Bishop Robert Brennan blessed the church as part of a Penitential Rite of Reparation that took place during St. Augustine’s 5 p.m. Mass on Saturday, June 4.
“The material lost is saddening,” Bishop Brennan said during his homily. “The historical loss, when you realize that tabernacle represented generations of people who have come before us. A bit of our history was taken from us.
But above all, what brings us together every week, is our faith in the presence of Jesus Christ among us in the Blessed Sacrament. It was desecrated in a terrible way and indeed we are broken.”
The theft was discovered in the afternoon of Saturday, May 28. Perpetrators cut through the heavy steel case that enclosed the tabernacle, which is made of gold and silver and dates back to the late 1890s. The Eucharist that was housed inside the tabernacle was scattered across the floor and covered in metal and dust. Two statues of angels, which flanked the tabernacle, were also decapitated.
“There’s a sense of emptiness here,” Bishop Brennan said. “We come and there’s a certain sense of silence and solemnity. We ask God to purify this building.”
The altar of the church was stripped bare before the start of the Penitential Rite of Reparation. After entering the church, the bishop sprinkled water on the altar, the congregants, and the walls of the desecrated church as a sign of purification.
The altar was then dressed as the offertory of the Mass took place. After the Mass was celebrated, the desecrated church was restored to divine service.
As of press time, no arrests or updates in last week’s theft have been reported.