The New York State AOH has sharply criticized the theft of a Tabernacle valued at $2 million from a church in Brooklyn and says the perpetrators are guilty of a hate crime.
An AOH press release stated: “The Diocese of Brooklyn announced that the New York City Police Department is investigating a brazen crime of disrespect and hate, which desecrated the most Blessed Sacrament and the altar at St. Augustine Catholic Church, located at 116 6th Avenue in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.
“The burglar cut through a metal protective casing and made off with the Tabernacle, which dates back to when the church was built in the late 1890s. The angels which flanked the Tabernacle were decapitated and destroyed, and the Blessed Sacrament housed inside the Tabernacle was thrown all over the altar."
New York State Catholic Action Chairperson James Russell said: "When is enough, enough!
"Yet, again our churches have been desecrated. Why is this incident not being considered a hate crime? We encourage in the strongest terms possible that if you see something that isn’t right, say something!"
The burglary, the press release added, is suspected to have taken place on Friday, May 27, and was discovered by parish authorities on Saturday, May 28.
“This is devastating, as the Tabernacle is the central focus of our church outside of worship, holding the Body of Christ, the Eucharist, which is delivered to the sick and homebound,” said Father Frank Tumino, pastor of St. Augustine.
“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.”
*This column first appeared in the June 1 edition of the weekly Irish Voice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.