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Senegalese Church Desecrated, Consecrated Hosts Stolen, Priest Calls for “conversion”

Saint Germaine Parish Marsassoum vandalized by unidentified individuals.

The Saint Germaine Parish in the Diocese of Kolda located in Senegal’s Ziguinchor Region was recently broken into and consecrated hosts in the tabernacle stolen, the Parish Priest reported, Tuesday, April 21, calling for prayers for the conversion of those behind the theft at his parish church.

In a letter addressed to Parishioners, Fr. Lambert Manga confirmed the incident, adding that various sacred objects were stolen from the parish run by Priests of the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament.

“It was in the morning of Tuesday 21 April 2020 that we were informed by some of our parishioners who noticed that the doors of the church and the tabernacle remained open after being broken,” Fr. Manga explained in his letter seen by ACI Africa.

“The criminals were obviously only interested in the tabernacle and its contents. They took with them a ciborium filled with (consecrated) hosts, a pyx containing the large host reserved for Eucharistic adoration and a lunette. Only the liturgical linen was left,” Fr. Manga said.

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He added, “We think that the robbery took place on Sunday night or Monday morning.”

After the alert from the parishioners, Fr. Manga recounted, “We went on site to ascertain the facts before informing the Bishop and the Mayor of Marsassoum.”

“We noticed that the doors of the church and tabernacle were broken by the vandals and some sacred objects were stolen. There has been desecration,” the Parish Priest said.

According to the Senegalese Cleric, “The criminals obviously took advantage of the curfew put in place as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic but also of the distance separating the presbytery and the parish church, which is almost 2 km” to carry out the robbery.

Fr. Manga has called for serenity and prayers among the faithful saying, “We call on the people of God to remain calm and to engage in prayers of reparation. We also need to pray for the conversion of perpetrators of this act.”

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Police officers who visited the parish following the incident have opened an investigation to find the culprits.

The incident has drawn reactions on social media with some posting their sentiments on Facebook.

“Father forgive them for they don't know what they're doing,” commented Guy Faye.

“Who could have done such a thing?” Joséphine Diène probed and continued, “May God have mercy on them. They could have asked the priests for food instead of stealing from the church tabernacle.”

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According to Frederic Diop, “These thugs don't even care about covid-19; where are we heading to? God is watching.”