Theft from St Augustine's

The Augustinian churches in Victoria and Valletta have had unwelcome intruders lately.

Some days ago at St Augustine's in Victoria, the icon of the Blessed Virgin of Good Counsel, enthroned on the main altar, was the victim of an undesired visitor or visitors. The robber or robbers cut the crystal which shielded the icon. The icon and the Baby Jesus' silver gold-plated crowns were untouched.

But the Blessed Virgin and Jesus were deprived of the precious and antique jewellery.

The icon of the Blessed Virgin was brought from Rome in 1765. No damage was done to the canvas.

St Augustine's church in Valletta also had an unwelcome visitor or visitors. The statue of St Augustine, which is carried annually in procession on the saint's feast day, was the second victim in 12 days.

The statue was usurped of its pectoral cross. The cross belonged to the Augustinian bishop, Mgr Fra Giovanni Maria Camilleri, former bishop of Gozo.

The silver pectoral cross is not intrinsically valuable. But for the Augustinians, it has a sentimental value because it represents the person it belonged to.

May the Lord touch the heart or hearts that deprived the statue from this cross so that they may return it even as "conscience money".

In both cases the police are investigating.

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