Gujarat: Blessed Sacrament Ciborium robbed (?) from Sacred Heart Church at Vadtal

March 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Gujarat, India, newsletter-lead, Persecution

Gujarat: Blessed Sacrament robbed (?) from Sacred Heart Church at VadtalGujarat, March 07, 2012: Its been well over a week that the police have made no headway in the case of what is being called a “robbery” of the Blessed Sacrament Ciborium and Lunettes (used to store the consecrated sacred host/bread) by a few non-Chrisitians. A story that many in the community from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat refuse to accept. The suspicion of most are that it was an act of communal vandalization and desecration, particularly since the crucifix was bent and also removed and thrown out. There were other valuables too that could be stolen, if theft was the motive, I was told. 

I spoke to some of the villagers, who informed that only in January 2012, a Cross that was constructed in the nearby Bhumel village of Kheda district was uprooted and thrown aside, which hurt religious sentiments, but nothing much was done. This time the villagers have signed a petition and will submit it to the Dy Supritendent of Police, as they do not expect any much action locally. I also spoke to Fr. Anthony Cardoz, who in his own words, has described the incident, as below.
– Joseph Dias

On 25th February 2012 morning, at 5.45 am I, entered the church for my meditation. No sooner I entered the church from the door adjoining my room, I saw the door that connects the church from the sacristy wide open. I thought that Fr. Martinho, the parish priest must have gone into the church to pray. I went in and saw the tabernacle wide open. On looking closely, I found the Ciborium and two Lunettes were missing. Immediately, I rushed to the parish priest, who came running and we were shocked to find that the place where the amplifier is placed, and the locker below the statue of guardian angel was also wide open.

Gujarat: Blessed Sacrament robbed (?) from Sacred Heart Church at VadtalWe called Kantibhai, our sacristan and the warden, who was accompanied by Amit our domestic staff. All four of us searched for the missing goods in the sacristy. As time elapsed we started to search for the missing things outside the church. Fr. Martinho saw the mass kit thrown in the nearby field which belongs to the parish. When we went close by we saw the entire kit emptied and all the sacred vestments, missals, lectionaries and other things required for the Mass emptied in the field from the kit. After a long search we could recover some things except the Lunette and Ciborium in which the consecrated hosts were placed.
Since it was time up for the Mass which is at 7 am, the parish priest informed this happening to the parishioners who too were upset and empathized with us. The Bishop of Ahmedabad Rt Rev Thomas Macwan, the Vicar General Rev Fr Rocky Pinto, and Dean of Nadiad Deanery Fr. Arul, the Provincial of the Pilar Fathers (Mumbai Province) Rev Fr Sebastian Mascarenhas were all kept informed. Fr Arul the dean of Nadiad Deanery came to Vadtal along with his parishioners Mr Basilbhai, Ashok Vagela, Anil Macwan, Samuel Vagela and Ambrose Yakub Parmar. Fr. Tony the parish priest of Mariampura church from Petlad was accompanied by Baldevbhai G Parmar and others who had come. The Sisters of the Helpers of Mary, our collaborators and some concerned parishioners came and did spend a lot of time in the parish campus giving moral support to us.

Gujarat: Blessed Sacrament robbed (?) from Sacred Heart Church at VadtalSince the seriousness of this incident was felt, the manager of the RC Mission School, Rev Fr Martinho Alvares sfx, told the Headmistress of the school to send the children home. The sisters along with the Hostel children and the parishioners kept on praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament which was brought from the sister’s convent. After some time it was decided to lodge a complaint in the police station and substantiated by photographs.

At the police station a complaint was lodged, and all that was spoken was recorded in writing. We asked the police to give us a copy of what he wrote and he said he would do it later, after he completed the formalities. Instead, no sooner did we reached the parish campus, another policeman came and once again wrote the entire incident that was repeated and he told Fr. Martinho Kantibhai, Amit and myself to sign the report. He said that the copy of the same would be given after further inquiry at about 4 pm.
So far no trace of the culprits
– fr. anthony cardoz sfx

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