A relic of Saint Pope John Paul II was stolen from a cathedral in central Italy.
On the evening of September 23, Wednesday, the gold reliquary containing the relic of the blood of St. John Paul II went missing from a chapel of the Cathedral Basilica of Spoleto. The sacred relic, a gift from the archbishop of Kraków to the Archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia in 2016, was supposed to be moved to a new church on October 22 to mark the 100th anniversary of St. John Paul II’s birth.
Archbishop Renato Boccardo of Spoleto asked the thieves to return and restore the relic to the cathedral. “What I am asking is a gesture of responsibility and seriousness,” he firmly said. (LIST: Christian Persecutions Happening Around the World)
“It’s a serious act,” Archbishop Boccardo added. “Serious, naturally, because it wounds the sentiments and the devotion of many people” who come to the cathedral to pray for the intercession of the saint before his relic.
The Archbishop added that in light of the robbery, he is encouraging devotees of St. John Paul II to continue to entrust themselves to the saint who is known to be a powerful intercessor. (Read: A Prayer for the Intercession of St. John Paul II)
Meanwhile, just one day before the robbery in Spoleto, another church in Italy was rummaged by burglars.
On Tuesday, September 22, the Church of Sant’Agata al Collegio in Caltanissetta, Sicily, was broken into and left in a horrific condition. Statues were damaged, the tabernacle was opened, and the sacred hosts were thrown on the ground.
Police have since arrested two men in connection with the crime. Local reports said that the men may have broken into the 17th-century church through the adjoining library and music school. (Read: Stolen Sto. Niño Image Found After 32 Years)
The police found a gold brooch, a case with consecrated Eucharistic hosts, a bottle of holy oil, and coins from the library’s vending machines.
Inside the church, candlesticks from the altar were found hidden behind a door and the glass encasing a figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s dormition was shattered. The figure’s arm was found broken.
This is the second time the Church of Sant’Agata al Collegio has been broken into since August.