The relic was, in the meantime, being displayed for veneration in the chapel of the crucifix, which is enclosed by a gate.
“It’s a serious act,” Boccardo said. “Serious, naturally, because it wounds the sentiments and the devotion of many people” who come to the cathedral to ask for the intercession of the saint before his relic.
“Meanwhile, I exhort the many devotees of St. John Paul II to continue to entrust themselves to him, who is a powerful intercessor before the Lord,” Boccardo added.
In the early morning hours of Sept. 22, the Church of Sant’Agata al Collegio in Caltanissetta, Sicily, was also broken into and robbed. Statues were damaged and the tabernacle was opened and Eucharistic hosts thrown on the ground.
Police arrested two men, and are looking for another man and woman, in connection with the crime.
The police intercepted the 20- and 25-year-old locals as they fled the church around 2 a.m. Sept. 22.
According to local reports, the police believe the two men broke into the 17th-century church through an adjoining library and music school. While searching the men, 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, the 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 and the figure’s arm broken.
This is the second time the Church of Sant’Agata al Collegio has been broken into since August.
At the time of the Aug. 23 break-in, Fr. Sergio Kalizah, the church’s pastor, said that the thieves had “damaged everything” inside the church, but gratefully had not touched the tabernacle, La Sicilia reported.
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“I ask you, dear brothers, to support us with your prayers,” the priest said.