Jul 2, 2014

Northampton church vandalized, weekend services to continue



(Catholic Communications photos from video by William Pacocha)

Staff report

SPRINGFIELD – The sacristy of the main church of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Northampton was severely damaged when it was broken into sometime late Monday, June 30 or early Tuesday, July 1.

Northampton Police surmise that either one or more perpetrators used exterior wire conduit to scale two stories in the rear of the King Street church and break a window to gain entry into the building.

 Destruction of cabinets and doors followed as did breaking into closets and prying open safes, apparently in search of money. The parish does not keep money in the church.

“It is most tragic that we, at St, Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, have been victimized with a break in to our church,” St. Elizabeth pastor, Father John E. Connors, told iobserve.

While most of the destruction was confined to the sacristy, an unsuccessful attempt was made to pry open the tabernacle in the main church. Cost estimates were not yet available, but they are expected to be substantial.

On Tuesday afternoon, Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell travelled to Northampton and re-consecrated the church. Prior to the creation of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in 2010, the church was part of Sacred Heart Parish.

St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish also utilizes Blessed Sacrament Church on Elm Street in Northampton and Annunciation Chapel on Beacon Street in Florence. Masses are scheduled to take place this coming weekend as usual.

Father Connors told iobserve that it appears that nothing was stolen, although there was some damage to items that were strewn about the sacristy.

“The church has been re-consecrated by the bishop and as a parish community we must move beyond this,” he said. “We are keeping our parish community in prayer and, in doing so, we pray for those who have done this damage.

“This is an important reminder to us to forgive others as we are called to do so by Christ himself, even as equitable justice is pursued.”

Northampton police are investigating the break-in.