One person is calling it a “Christmas miracle,” and he may be right.
From the Kansas City Star:
The Rev. Jerry Bruggeman wept the other day when he saw his golden chalice.
It was stolen 22 years ago.
Bruggeman, of Colorado Springs, Colo., was given the chalice, engraved with his name, on the day of his ordination in 1949. He used it for 40 years during the Eucharist until it was taken from a cabinet of chalices at Corpus Christi Catholic Church on North Cascade Avenue.
The chalice was returned to him earlier this month, and after some refurbishing, it looks nearly as good as new.
“Miracles still happen,” Bruggeman, 87, said.
It is customary for priests to receive a Eucharist chalice on the day of their ordination. The gift can be as special to them as wedding rings are to married couples.
Bruggeman’s family funded the chalice, which is gold-plated silver with a strip of black onyx. On the bottom is engraved a blessing to Bruggeman’s family that ends with, “Rev. Gerald Bruggeman, Ordained May 26, 1949.”
In 1988, someone broke into Corpus Christi through a side door and stole the chalice, the only item taken, Bruggeman said.
Over the years, Bruggeman has had nightmares about the chalice being melted down for its silver.
Bruggeman retired as priest of Corpus Christi in 1994. Since then he’s celebrated the Eucharist as a guest at various Catholic churches. He also volunteers two days a week at Penrose Hospital, where he blesses and anoints patients and conducts Mass on Sundays.
The events leading to the return of the chalice began Nov. 30, when Larry Resel of Las Animas, Colo., walked into Prairie Junction antiques store in Fowler, Colo., and bought a chalice for $12.
The store owner told him it had a curious past. A couple in 1997 apparently were hiking in the Manitou Springs, Colo., hills after attending their son’s wedding, he was told, and noticed a sliver of gold protruding from the ground.
It was the chalice.