BODY OF CHRIST STOLEN
    CLSU church closed for a month, bishop decrees acts of reparation

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    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ  –  For the loss of a monstrance  holding  the  “Body  of  Christ,”  the Catholic church and its ad – oration chapel at the Central  Luzon State University (CLSU)  here were ordered close by a  bishop for one month, and the  priest, with the faithful, is de creed to hold processions on  barefoot.

    The  decree,  issued  by  Bishop Roberto Mallari of the  Diocese of San Jose, was for  the loss by thievery of a mon – strance at the church’s adoration chapel.

    Mallari’s decree was issued  after Fr. Tito Maratas, chaplain  of the St. Elizabeth of Hungary  Chaplaincy in CLSU reported  that the monstrance held the  consecrated host, which Cath – olic  belief  holds  as  the  very  “Body of Christ,” was discovered missing last May 26.

    It may have been stolen in  the evening of May 25, Maratas said. 

    A monstrance is a vessel  in which a consecrated host is  placed  for  eucharistic  adora tion by the faithful. The vessel  was inside the adoration chapel at the back of the church. In his letter to Maratas, the  bishop  said  the  theft  of  the  monstrance with the host in it  was a “serious offense of sacrilege  and  desecration  com mitted  by  the  thief”.  He  said  acts of the decreed reparation  “to atone for the serious sin of  committed  against  the  Lord’  must be carried out.

    The  reparations  includ – ed the closure of the church  and the adoration chapel from  May 29 to June 29, 2016; pro – cession by the community on  barefoot  on  Sundays  during  the period while doing the Stations of the Cross; and praying  of the rosary from the first day  of  the  implementation  of  the  act of reparation until the last  day.

    The  bishop  also  encouraged  the  Catholic  faithful  in  the chaplaincy to do a diligent  search  for  the  missing  mon strance  and  continue  pray – ing  to  enlighten  the  mind  of  the thief that “the one inside  the monstrance is not simply  bread (host) but it is the Lord”. 

    The  shining  monstrance  may have been thought by the  thief, according to a member  of the security force, as made  of gold or other precious mate – rial but was only gold-plated. It  may not cost much in the mar – ket, he said.

    Maratas  said  he  would  be holding Sunday and daily  Masses in the social hall of the  church.  The  Sunday  proces – sions, after the morning Mass,  will be along the main roads  of the residential houses and  dormitories on the CLSU cam – pus, he added. 

    Churchgoers  last  Sunday  were surprised to find out that  their  church  was  closed  and  the Mass was to be held in a  social hall.

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