Members of the Catholic community were outraged after the premises of a suburban church were vandalised and several sacred objects were stolen by unidentified accused in the wee hours on Thursday.
The accused entered through the chapel of St Joseph’s Church in Juhu and departed with a ciborium that is used to hold the hosts. The accused also took some cash and a laptop from the church office. The Juhu police have registered a case against the unknown accused, but are still clueless about their identity.
On Thursday, around 5.30 am, parish priest Father Vincent D’mello entered the chapel and discovered that a few things were broken. He found that the monstrance (a holy relic) that holds the hosts had also been stolen.
He then proceeded to inspect the office and found that some cash, and a laptop were missing. The Christian community has also been angered because the accused left a picture of Mother Mary that they had picked up on the stairs, on their way out.
Representatives of several Catholic groups visited the police station, demanding that strict action be taken. Judith Monteiro, who visited the church, said, “It is everything for us. No one can even touch it, except the priest and bishop -- and such things have been stolen, which is very sad. Such holy things have no monetary value, they’re priceless.”
Another member, Jeanette D’souza, said, “We demand immediate arrest of the accused. It has hurt our sentiments badly. Action should be taken soon. If action is not taken, we may even protest.”
The church authorities are now planning to install CCTV cameras inside and around the church. In the past, three such events have taken place, said the church authorities.
An officer from the Juhu police station said, “We have no leads yet. Also, there are no CCTV cameras inside the church, so identification is also difficult. We have taken pictures and fingerprints. No one has been detained yet.”