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Bishop Brennan Blesses St. Augustine Church Following Altar Desecration and Tabernacle Theft

Diocese Brooklyn
June 05, 2022

Bishop Brennan Blesses St. Augustine Church Following Altar Desecration and Tabernacle Theft
Video: Courtesy of DeSales Media

NYPD announces reward for information leading to an arrest.

The Most Reverend Robert J. Brennan, Bishop of Brooklyn, tonight blessed and purified St. Augustine Church following last weekend’s desecration and burglary of the church’s tabernacle. The blessing, part of the Penitential Rite of Reparation, took place during the 5 pm Mass at St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, located in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.

In his homily, Bishop Brennan said “The material lost is saddening. 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 brazen theft was discovered in the afternoon of Saturday, May 28, 2022. 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 1800s. This holy sacramental receptacle is irreplaceable due to its historical and artistic value. The angels which flanked the tabernacle were decapitated and destroyed.

At the start of the Penitential Rite of Reparation, the church altar was bare. After entering, Bishop Brennan blessed the water and sprinkled 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 began. Parishioners vested the altar and Father Frank Tumino, Pastor of St. Augustine, lit the candles in preparation for the liturgy of the Eucharist. The Holy Mass was then celebrated, and the desecrated church was restored to divine service.

“The restoration of the church building to its sacred dignity renews the resolve of the local church in Brooklyn and Queens to grow in holiness and in witness to the presence of our Risen Lord in the world today,” said Bishop Brennan.