Italian police have found the missing relic which had been stolen from the church of San Pietro della Ienca over the weekend.
On January 26, reports from Italy were that a sacred relic which contained the blood of Blessed Pope John Paul II had been stolen from a church in the mountains outside of Rome.
Yesterday I reported that the reliquary had been found, along with the crucifix which had been stolen–but that the relic itself–a piece of cloth soaked with the blood of Pope John Paul II–was still missing. Police had gotten a confession from the thieves. The two drug-addicted young men who stole the items apparently had not realized the relic’s worth and had simply tossed it into the bushes.
The thieves had originally told police they’d discarded the cloth in the bushes. However, Reuters reports that police have discovered the cloth in the garage of two of the men, and it’s been pieced back together.
Auxiliary Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole of L’Aquila, at a Jan. 31 press conference, told reporters that the fabric is still missing a few cloth filaments and a gold thread. Bishop D’Ercole freely offered forgiveness to the two thieves, however, noting that Pope John Paul has certainly forgiven them and we should do likewise.
Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Pope’s personal secretary who accompanied the Holy Father on his 100+ visits to the region, had presented the cloth to the church in 2011, the year John Paul II was beatified. It symbolized the love which Pope John Paul felt for the region and for the beautiful mountains, where he would ski before Parkinson’s Disease affected his ability to engage in strenuous sports.
Pope John Paul II will be canonized, along with his predecessor Pope John XXIII, on April 27, 2014.
Blessed John Paul, pray for us.