A Nenagh priest has issued an appeal for the return of a monstrance that was stolen from the local St Mary of the Rosary Church on Tuesday, March 5. The theft happened between 2pm and 2.15pm at a time when the area would have been busy with parents collecting their children from nearby schools.
Fr Ger Jones appealed to who ever stole the religious item: “Please it back. We are not on a crusade to catch who ever took it.” He said the thief or thieves could even just leave the item at the church gates or in an area where it would be found.
“It is no of value from a monetary point, but it did contain the Host, the Blessed Sacrament, and it is very upsetting for that to be stolen,” said Fr Jones, who described the theft as “disturbing”.
The montrance, which was housed in the Adoration room at the side of the church, holds the Blessed Sacrament, and the side chapel would be a place where many people would come to get comfort and pray. It was housed in a glass case and who ever took it would have first had to open the case.
He said St Mary of the Rosary was a “busy church”, and wondered how someone could have taken it from its glass case unobserved. “I imagine it was a difficult thing to do.”
Fr Jones told the Tipperary Star that there would “very little of a market” for a monstrance. “Only a church would use one. Anyone with any understanding of the church would recognise it and it would strike them as odd if it were for sale. The only place one would be seen is in a church.”
He also revealed that the item, which is used during Church ceremonies such as Corpus Christi processions, had “very little value. It may have looked valuable, but it is only brasswork really.”
Fr Jones said they may now have to look at having some form of extra security at the church, but was adament that they “won’t close the chapel” as people drop in to it “all the time. They might spend one hour praying. We have over 100 people there over the week spending one hour in Adoration.”
He said that if the montrance was not recovered, the church was “not going to buy another one”. However, they would replace it with something that “would not be as appealing to a thief”.
Meanwhile, Supt Robert Noonan, Nenagh, appealed to anyone who saw anything suspicious around the time of the theft to contact the station. “This was a particularly low type of crime and we are taking it very seriously. We hope to bring this to a positive conclusion,” he said.
He confirmed that house-to-house inquiries had been conducted and fliers distributed in schools in the hope of making a breakthrough in the investigation. A number of suspects were under review.