God works in mys­te­ri­ous ways

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Jo­ce­lyn Rein

A stolen cru­ci­fix has been re­turned – a lit­tle worse for wear – to St Pa­trick’s Cathe­dral.

The arte­fact stolen from the church chapel last Au­gust was re­cov­ered in a bizarre se­ries of events last month.

The church was con­tacted by a young Catholic de­fence lawyer who had seen a home­less man hold­ing the cru­cifi out­side the Auck­land District Court.

Church staff con­fronted the man, who ad­mit­ted he had stolen the cru­ci­fix more than a year ago.

St Pa­trick’s busi­ness man­ager Kevin Sher­lock says they recog­nised the cru­ci­fix de­spite al­ter­ations – both arms had been bro­ken and taped back up and ex­tra blood added.

Mr Sher­lock says the man, who is known to cathe­dral staff, was happy to re­turn the arte­fact once he re­alised who they were.

“We said a few pray­ers and he handed it back to us.”

Pa Peter Tipene, a priest at St Pa­trick’s Hi­bis­cus Coast parish, owns the cross and says he is de­lighted to have it back.

“It’s one of my trea­sures.”

It was gifted to him by a con­vent of women called the Cluny sis­ters, who are based in Re­muera.

He gave it to staff at St Pa­trick’s to look af­ter while he trav­elled over­seas and it hung for two years in the chapel at Lis­ton Hall while the cathe­dral was be­ing re­stored.

He says learn­ing the cross had been stolen last year was dis­tress­ing.

“I was so up­set be­cause it’s such a beau­ti­ful piece,” he says.

“I hoped for a while it would be found but af­ter a few months I gave up on it.”

He is ab­so­lutely thrilled to have the cru­ci­fix home and spoke about it in a ser­mon last week.

Af­ter re­pairs it will hang on the wall in his pres­bytery.

“I don’t want it to go walk­a­bout again.”

But the re­turn of the cross was tainted by bad news, as cathe­dral staff in­ves­ti­gated an­other bur­glary.

A lap­top com­puter, data pro­jec­tor and about $700 cash were stolen from the pres­bytery on Oc­to­ber 30.

Mr Sher­lock says al­though there has been the odd thing taken from in­side the cathe­dral, this is the church’s first se­ri­ous theft.

They are hope­ful that the items will be re­turned af­ter a staff mem­ber was able to iden­tify the sus­pect on a po­lice photo board.

De­tec­tive se­nior sergeant Steve Breach says po­lice have a strong line of in­quiry on a sus­pect who was seen act­ing sus­pi­ciously on the pres­bytery grounds around the time of the bur­glary and are in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mat­ter.

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