Priest asks thieves to return sacred items ahead of church reconsecration


A church in Co Louth will be reconsecrated next Sunday after a break-in last weekend.

A priest has asked thieves who stole a ciborium as well as a tabernacle, chalices and other sacred items from a church “to repent and to return what they have taken. What they have done is gravely offensive to people and to their faith.”

Fr Peter Murphy said the theft from the sacristy of the ciborium, “containing the Blessed Sacrament”, had left St Catherine’s Church “desecrated by this act of sacrilege”. He said the church, in Ballapousta, Co Louth, must now be reconsecrated and until that happens it is closed and cannot be used by the parishioners.

The break-in occurred shortly after Fr Murphy celebrated a wedding in the church last Saturday afternoon.

Sometime between 4pm and 6.30pm the thieves forced the door of the sacristy and took chalices, five ciboriums and a tabernacle. All are made from silver and it is believed they were taken for the value of the precious metal.

Fr Murphy said the theft had “left people in a state of shock and disbelief”.

“The church will be reconsecrated by the vicar general of the archdiocese of Armagh, Dean Msgr Colum Curry, next Sunday.

“The church is precious to its parishioners and they have been gravely offended by this,” he said.