NY1 Exclusive: Image Of Devotion Stolen From Bronx Church
Parishioners at a Bronx church are saying some special prayers for the return of a much-beloved picture that vanished last weekend, at that the thief has a change of heart. Borough reporter Dean Meminger filed the following exclusive report.
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On of the Ten Commandments says "Thou shall not steal," but that is not stop someone from stealing a painting right off the wall at Our Lady of Angels Church in Kingsbridge Heights in the Bronx.
"We had hoped and thought may be someone had taken it to clean it or something, but by Tuesday we realized it had been robbed," said the Reverend Thomas Lynch, the church's pastor.
"You can't go any lower than that. That is as low as you can go, stealing from inside the church," said one local.
The church's priests say they think the painting called "Divine Mercy" was taken last Sunday during a baptism when everyone would have been at the front of the church.
"To me it was almost humorous that someone would try to steal 'Mercy,'" said the Reverend Vincent Drudling, a parish priest.
The painting, which bears resemblance of the image seen above, was received by the church as a gift from an elderly parishioner. It is valued at between $500 and $1,000, but more importantly people kneeled before it to pray.
"The image is an image given to Saint Faustina, a great Polish nun," said Drudling. "It was our Lord's message to the world, that he wants to extend his oceans of mercy to the world."
"You feel violated, they are violating the church," said parishioner Socorro Leon. "But, I also think the person has to be very disturbed to have to go to a church to steal something. I don't know what they are going to do with that. Are they going to hang it in their living room or some thing?"
The church has security cameras but they did not capture the theft. Police are investigating but have few leads so far.
"Because we are a Catholic church and we love our saints and touch them and kiss them, there would be fingerprints all around that area. It would not be worth trying to find a criminal's prints," said Lynch.
Priests at Our Lady of Angels say if they find out who stole this paint, they do not want them arrested. They do, though, want the guilty parties to give up their stealing ways and do penance for breaking a Commandment.
"I pray that the person will obviously give it back and come to receive God's mercy in the sacrament of confession," said Drudling.