… [PLEASE SEE THE BOTTOM OF THE POST FOR THE LATEST UPDATE] Still waiting to hear the official word and news report but I just learned that St. Thomas was vandalized. The vandals busted out one of the beautiful stain glass windows [and cut themselves while doing it – good!], desecrated the altar with blood, and the infant Jesus in the nativity was damaged accidentally in the process. Rumors of satanical symbols were exaggerated and untrue, so details were edited accordingly. Please see below for updates as they become available.
This is my old parish. Where I came into the Catholic Church and received those first sacraments. It’s where my son goes for faith formation, where my mother sings in the choir and teaches faith formation, where my son’s scout troop is… it’s my home. I feel every bit violated and personally insulted.
Please take a moment a offer your prayers for Fr. Winslow and Fr. Kauth. Also pray for the spineless little shits that committed this crime. Their souls are damned now unless they repent. Pray they seek repentance and forgiveness for their sins and make themselves right with God. I man who doesn’t live in fear of God’s justice is a very lowly man capable of all manner of evil.
Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit- I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges, and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners. Amen.
I will continue to update this post as I learn more. These types of religious hate crimes are increasing in frequency as the Church takes a stand against the evils of relativism. Do not despair, it’s just a test.
UPDATED 1/13/2013 @ 7pm.
Still no word from the local media. At this time it has not been reported by the Charlotte Observer or WSOCTV. I’m not sure why this hate crime is not receiving media attention. If I didn’t know better I’d say they were intentionally ignoring it. The church was able to be cleaned up before mass this morning, so hopefully the extent of the damage was minimal. Bishop Jugis came and performed a special liturgy before mass could be said.
UPDATED 1/13/2013 @ 9pm.
An account by a parishioner, confirming the damage was minimal.
“The point of entry was the stained glass window by the confessionals. The baby Jesus statue in the nativity creche had its head broken off. [added to note that the head was glued backed on]
There was blood on the altar and the altar was very clearly desecrated (but no satanic symbols or defecation–no poop–as was circulating). Father did not go into detail about how exactly the altar was very clearly desecrated, although there was definitely something done on it. The blood was likely, though not certainly, from the vandal being cut upon entry through the window.
The police were called and morning mass was said in the chapel (I was there). I heard these details from Fr. Winslow, Fr. Kauth, and one of the witnesses who was first into the parish that morning and served as the police witness.
The exit point was through the narthex and the alarm was tripped. Bishop Jugis was called to cleanse/re-consecrate the parish (which must be done after the parish & altar are desecrated). The church could not be used until this was done. That afternoon the whole process of re-consecration post-desecration prayers took place with the bishop, both in and around the parish and at the altar. The whole ceremony took about two hours, and according to Fr. Winslow and Fr. Kauth it was a really a neat experience, not only with the richness of all the prayers and the ceremony itself, but that there was also a very specific and clear moment at which the sensible ‘darkness’ that was present had left.
The baby Jesus head was restored and nothing happened to the Tabernacle. Everything is back to normal since after the bishop left yesterday, and the only evidence of what happened is the boarded up window in the back”.
UPDATED 1/14/2013 @ 12:55pm – Final Update
Forgive the late update. I just got back from some out-patient stuff this morning and this is the first moment I’ve had to make corrections and add updates. As stated above, reports about the satanic nature of the desecration were greatly exaggerated. They were rumors people heard from other people and something was temporarily posted on a parish facebook page and then deleted later, which fueled suspicion. I retracted the inaccuracies immediately once I learned they were untrue. I was also careful to note originally that as of yesterday afternoon no official statement had been made and therefore reports were hearsay. People were upset, naturally, so details varied from person to person. Not to trivialize the incident, the church was still desecrated and damaged. The slight still stings to those who have an affection for the parish and it’s priests. I hope those responsible are found and prosecuted for a hate crime.
CHARLOTTE — Someone broke into St. Thomas Aquinas Church at 1400 Suther Road Friday evening or Saturday morning, desecrating the altar and causing about $2,600 in damage. No signs of ritualistic or occult activity was obvious and nothing was stolen from the University City-area church.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police report, the person or persons broke a stained glass window on the right side of the church, not visible to the street, sometime after 1:30 a.m. and before 9 a.m. Saturday. They probably cut themselves on the broken glass, and as they walked into the altar area some blood dripped onto the altar cloth.
Police surmise the person knocked over the crucifix that sat upon the altar, and when it fell it broke the baby Jesus statue in the church’s Nativity display. At some point during their break-in, the burglar or burglars triggered the church’s alarm, and they left moments later through the narthex.
Parish staff thought the alarm was triggered accidentally and did not discover the break-in until Saturday morning, according to David Hains, diocesan director of communication. They immediately called police and Bishop Peter Jugis.
According to Hains and the church’s pastor, Father Patrick Winslow, there appeared to be no signs of ritualistic or occult activity, but the altar area was desecrated.
Bishop Jugis came to the church Saturday morning and blessed the church inside and out, as required by canon law when an altar is desecrated or profaned. Then he celebrated a Mass with Father Winslow, Father Matthew Kauth (priest in residence) and a few parishioners who happened to be present.
The peaceful blessing ceremony was “intended to cleanse any defilement in the church,” Hains said. The ceremony took about two hours.
Father Winslow and Father Kauth then notified parishioners of the break-in during the regular Sunday Masses.
The broken window has been boarded up and is expected to be repaired later today or tomorrow, Hains said. The damage was estimated at $2,500 for the window, and about $100 for the broken statue (which has since been repaired). There was no other damage reported.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police processed the crime scene and took the altar cloth, containing the drops of blood, as evidence. No arrest has been made, and the police investigation continues.
Thank you to all who’ve contacted me and kept me up to date. If you wish to help the parish in any way, firstly and most importantly you can offer them your prayers, perhaps email or mail a letter of encouragement to the staff, or make a monetary donation to help with repairs [estimated around $2500] to St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church at 1440 Suther Rd, Charlotte NC 28213.
Also, in local news, Pro-life display outside St. Vincent De Paul Church vandalized.