Cathedral of St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Catherines, ON Wikipedia

Tabernacle found after theft from St. Catharines cathedral

By 
  • September 10, 2020

Washington, D.C. Newsroom (CNA) -- The tabernacle that was stolen earlier this week from the St. Catherine of Alexandria Cathedral in St. Catharines, Ontario was recovered on Wednesday, September 9.

A group of parishioners from the cathedral discovered the tabernacle in Centennial Park, which is located near the cathedral. The tabernacle was partially submerged in a canal, and parts of the ciborium were missing.

According to local media, the Eucharist was not found in the tabernacle, but because it was in a body of water, it may have dissolved.

A host that is dissolved ceases to be a consecrated host.

After Mass on Wednesday afternoon, someone came to the rectory door with one of the tabernacle’s brass doors. The man said that he had been given the piece of the tabernacle on the street, by a man who said that someone gave it to him in Centennial Park.

The tabernacle’s other door has not yet been found.

The tabernacle was discovered the day after Bishop Gerard Bergie of St. Catharines issued a public plea for its return, saying there would be “no questions asked” if it turned up. Bergie also noted that the tabernacle, which is made of steel, would not have much monetary value.

Video footage captured two people, believed to be a man and a woman, breaking into the cathedral at approximately 4:30 a.m. on September 8.

Fr. Donald Lizzotti, rector of the cathedral, told CNA that he believed the thieves had previously cased the cathedral to determine how to steal the tabernacle.

“And they came back later and actually pried the cover, which is over the old metal tabernacle,” he said. “They pried that off and put it on the floor. They took brass doors off of that,” and then finally took the entire tabernacle off of the altar.

Lizzotti told CNA that the police were unable to find fingerprints and they believe the thieves had wiped the scene clean.

The cathedral had previously been subjected to numerous thefts and acts of vandalism, including the theft of two bronze lamp posts in 2019. The lamp posts were recovered after the thieves attempted to sell them to a scrapyard.

No suspects have been identified in Tuesday’s tabernacle theft.

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