Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 52 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

My Photo
Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Another downtown Church hit!

My heart goes out to Fr. Koehler at Most Holy Trinity!

FYI - St. John's has an alarm system and video monitoring which can record the intruders.


The Rev. Russ Kohler, longtime pastor of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Detroit's Corktown, spent part of Tuesday searching pawn shops and antique stores for cherished artifacts and holy vessels that were stolen from one of Detroit most-recognized and historic churches.
Thieves broke into Most Holy Trinity sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning. The parish janitor alerted Kohler, who theorizes the thieves lit candlesticks in the church to illuminate their ransacking -- and then took the candlesticks with them, too.
"There was candlewax everywhere," said Kohler.
From the side altar, the thieves took the tabernacle, a heavy, ornate box that held consecrated communion hosts to bring to homebound parishioners. Catholics believe consecrated hosts are the body of Christ.
Among other items stolen were chalices, brass bells, candleholders, and a ciborium, which holds the communion hosts. Also stolen were a sprinkler for holy water and a ceiling chandelier that dates to 1800s, said Kohler. The chandelier had once held kerosene lanterns a century ago, but now was wired for light.
The thieves left behind two large crosses, but ripped from one of them a metal figures of Jesus, Kohler said.
"This isn't the first time Jesus is with thieves," Kohler said.
The thieves picked open locks and the church safe, and cleaned it out. There was no money in the safe. However, Kohler said in the safe were two chalices - one gold that he received in 1973 at his ordination into priesthood and a silver one by a local artist.
The parish is marking its 175th anniversary. The current builidng dates to 1855. Kohler believes the thieves pushed open a window on the Sixth Street side of the church to gain entry during the night.
The church's single spire can be seen on the western edge of downtown Detroit. The parish has been renowned for its service to the poor, which was brought to the forefront by the late Rev. Clement Kern. The parish operates an elementary school and a health clinic. The church, which now has a largely Hispanic population, draws area dignitaries and elected officials for its annual mass celebrating St. Patrick's Day and Detroit's Irish heritage.
Anyone with information can call Detroit Police Southwest District Investigative Operations at 313-596-5340.