Praise God! The Boston Globe is reporting today that the relic of the True Cross, stolen from the Cathedral of the Holy Cross earlier this summer, has turned up in rural Vermont, as confirmed today by the Archdiocese of Boston and the Vermont State Police. Here is an excerpt from the Globe article:
Vermont State Police stumbled upon it after receiving a call from Richard Duncan, a resident of the Upper Eatons Trailer Park in Royalton, Vt., about 25 miles northwest of White River Junction, according to a lengthy statement released by the Vermont State Police this afternoon.
Duncan told police he was having an argument over the phone with his partner, 34-year-old Earl Frost. He said he wanted Frost to share some information with police.
“Frost was put on the telephone and advised Troopers that the altercation was over a religious artifact that was stolen from a church in Boston,” the Vermont State Police statement said.
So Richard was having an argument with his partner, Earl, over the religious artifact stolen from a church in Boston that somehow made it into their possession. Hmm.
The report continues:
At the barracks, Frost turned the relic over to the police and said that he had acquired it from an unidentified person in Rhode Island.
On Sunday — almost a week later — an official from the Archdiocese of Boston drove up to the Royalton Barracks to confirm its authenticity.
We are delighted beyond words to hear the relic has been found and returned. But hey guys, don’t break a sweat rushing to get up there and recover the relic or anything while people are praying every day for its return. First, it took a about 12-13 days between when it was discovered missing July 1 and when the Archdiocese made a public announcement on July 13–and the theft was only announced after Catholic blogger, Kelly Thatcher at “Lady in the Pew” posted about the theft. The media coverage of the announcement precipitated by Kelly’s blogging helped in the recovery, in that Vermont police did a web search and knew what the religious artifact might have been before it arrived at the station. The driving distance from Boston to the Royalton Barracks in Bethel, VT is a 151-mile drive, and Mapquest says it should take about 2.5 hours. Maybe the folks at the Cathedral were busy with other more pressing things to do between Monday Aug. 9 when the relic arrived at the police barracks and Sunday, August 15 when the official from the Cathedral made it up there. Who are we to judge?
Something seems odd though. They’ve been having weekly prayer services every Wednesday evening to pray for the return of the True Cross relic. We wonder whether anyone from the Cathedral or the Archdiocese told the people gathered last Wednesday night Aug. 10 that they knew what was suspected to be the relic was actually sitting in a police barracks in VT a 2.5 hour drive away. Maybe some of the people at the prayer service familiar with what the relic looked like would have offered to drive up to VT.
Anyway, here is the statement from the Archdiocese:
“Our prayers have been answered as the Relic of the True Cross has been recovered. We are grateful for the great work of the Boston Police Department in their search for the relic. Their professional and diligent work made this effort successful. We also extend our appreciation to the Vermont State Police who assisted in the recovery effort. God has blessed us with His love and capacity to forgive. We prayerfully carry on His call for forgiveness for those responsible.”
Media note: Each week a prayer service has been held at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross for the return of the relic since it was stolen. This Wednesday, August 18 at 7:30pm, we will welcome the return of the Relic of the True Cross to the Cathedral.
We are genuinely excited over the return of the relic!
Forgive us for any words of cynicism. It’s just that the Archdiocese gives a strong sense of a lack of urgency over the relic both initially when it was stolen and most recently in its recovery. It’s kind of like the same sense of urgency they demonstrate over stopping the undermining of Church teachings we’ve documented here by folks like Fr. Bryan Hehir.
Let’s hope they find a way of securing the relic this time around and continuously monitoring it so as to prevent another theft.
Perhaps once they get that worked out, they can apply those same principles toward securing and monitoring the manner in which certain archdiocesean officials communicate the truths of our faith.