BROOKLYN, N.Y. (PIX11) — St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church is still hoping for the safe return of a valuable tabernacle, and they’re adding a $50,000 reward to sweeten the deal.
The tabernacle was originally stolen from the Park Slope church ahead of Memorial Day. Thieves forcefully cut open the steel covering protecting the tabernacle, and once inside they removed the hold tabernacle and also damaged a statue of an angel by removing its head.
The Holy Eucharist, which was housed inside the tabernacle, was thrown all over the altar. The cameras were not working inside the church, but the pastor told PIX11 News that the burglars also took the VCR recording.
The Most Reverend Robert Brennan, bishop of Brooklyn, announced the $50,000 reward Tuesday. That reward is in addition to a $3,500 reward previously offered by the NYPD.
The new reward is being offered by the company that insures Diocesan properties, according to a press release.
“We continue to pray for the one-of-a-kind Tabernacle, made possible by the original parishioners of St. Augustine, to be returned and then restored, in all its glory, to the heart of this church,” Brennan said.
Earlier this month, Brennan joined Father Frank Tumino, pastor of St. Augustine-St. Francis Xavier Parish, at a special Mass that blessed and purified St. Augustine in the wake of the desecration.
According to the church, the tabernacle has been a part of the institution since the late 1800s. It’s also “irreplaceable due to its historical and artistic value.”
“To know that a burglar entered the most sacred space of our beautiful church and took great pains to cut into a security system is a heinous act of disrespect,” Tumino said.