MOUNT CARMEL — A religious community in Northumberland County is feeling a loss after several items are stolen from their church including a religious statue.
Police say many items were stolen at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Mount Carmel including a life-size statue of the Virgin Mary. The bishop at this Catholic Church of the East says he is heartbroken because that statue and all of the other items are very important to the church
Mass at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Mount Carmel is every Sunday at 3 p.m. Every week, Bishop Ramzi Musallam says he walks into the church and prays in front of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.
“I came in and I see our statue, our life-size statue of Our Lady of Fatima is gone,” Bishop Musallam said.
The bishop says the five foot statue wasn’t the only thing missing this weekend from the church.
“At the organ where we keep the Infant of Prague, that also was gone, too. Then I became a little bit concerned, so I went right to the tabernacle and saw the tabernacle was here but the key for it was gone.”
Also missing from the church were several candles, a laptop, and two printers.
“It’s not just religious items that were stolen. The church has a thrift shop that is open during the spring. The bishop says the whole area was filled with clothing, toys, and a stereo. That’s all missing.
“If you want it, we’ll give it to you. It’s here for you. so why come and rob the place and steal from God’s house?”
Our Lady of Fatima Church is a mostly Arabic church that has been in Mount Carmel for about two years. The bishop says the church does not appear to be broken into and only a few people have keys. Police believe the burglary happened between last Sunday and this past Sunday.
“Seeing these things are taken and removed from our holy church, that’s uncalled for. It could have been worse, but that’s not acceptable.”
Bishop Musallem says he is praying for whoever stole these items and he will forgive them.
“Just bring us Our Lady back and bring me the key for our tabernacle back. it really breaks my heart.”
Bishop Musallam says Our Lady of Fatima Church has around 50 members and the only time people are inside the building is during Sunday afternoon mass. The bishop says mass was cancelled yesterday because of the theft.
Mount Carmel police say the theft is under investigation.