Some parishioners might remember that while the Junction church was still open, there was at some point (I have been unable to ascertain exactly when) the heart-wrenching event that the tabernacle was stolen from inside the church. I have been told that it was two young men who did this; they thought the tabernacle was a safe and they were trying to steal money. When the two men were caught by police, they confessed that they had stolen the tabernacle, and that when they could not open it, they tossed it into the Flatrock Creek east of Paulding. This prompted a search, but the tabernacle unfortunately was not recovered.
To my surprise, I received a phone call a few weeks ago from some of our parishioners to inform me that they had indeed found the tabernacle and had rescued it from the mucky bed of the Flatrock Creek! Because of the intense heat and lack of rain leading up to the 4th of July, the water in the creek had dropped so low that the tabernacle was visible from a bridge. Many thanks to the parishioners who found it and retrieved it!
Although we lament that the tabernacle was stolen in the first place, and we make prayers of reparation for this grievous action, we can take consolation in the fact that no sacrilege was able to be carried out directly on the Blessed Sacrament himself contained in the tabernacle. To this point, it is worth mentioning that when the tabernacle was found a few weeks ago, the ciborium was still with the tabernacle; all of the hosts had dissolved in the water over the years. Further, although the tabernacle door had rusted off while in the creek, the ciborium somehow adhered itself to the door, and neither of them floated away in the current over all those years. Truly a miracle!
Near the tabernacle and the ciborium in the creek, our parishioners also found a statue of a lamb that had also been stolen from the Junction church. This statue too, has been retrieved. Amazingly, when this statue was thrown into the creek years ago, it remained fairly intact, landed upright, and the lamb was looking directly at the tabernacle… and remained that way for all the years that it was underwater!
As might be expected, there is no way to restore this tabernacle because of the extensive rust damage from years in the water. This being the case, the proper way to dispose of a sacred object that cannot be burned is to bury it. As such, I will be leading a short prayer service at Immaculate Conception Cemetery in Cecil before we place the tabernacle in the ground. The prayer service will begin at 10:00 A.M. on Saturday, July 23. All are certainly welcome to attend. Please feel free to invite anyone who might want to come, including anyone from Junction who attends other parishes. N.B.- I will look into the possibility of restoring the statue of the lamb and placing it (at a later date) above ground where the tabernacle will be buried. Stay tuned- I will provide updates on that when I have more information.
If you have any questions regarding any of this, please feel free to contact me!
Blessings to you all!