BOONE — Boone Police are investigating the reported theft of a tabernacle from the altar of Saint Elizabeth of the Hill Country Catholic Church.
According to Boone Police, an unknown suspect or suspects entered Saint Elizabeth — located at 259 Pilgrims Way in Boone — sometime between June 16 and June 17. According to the Diocese of Charlotte, church staff discovered the alleged theft Wednesday morning at about 9 a.m. and immediately alerted Boone Police.
The Diocese of Charlotte stated that it is calling for prayers and the safe return of the tabernacle, which contains the Eucharist. The Diocese of Charlotte stated that Catholics profess that the consecrated Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ, and stealing it is considered a desecration.
The Rev. Brendan Buckler, the pastor at St. Elizabeth, is requesting that those allegedly responsible return the sacred hosts kept inside the tabernacle, if not the tabernacle itself. The tabernacle held a ciborium — or large cup — containing multiple consecrated hosts.
“We pray that your hearts may be moved to please return the tabernacle to us, but most especially the contents,” Buckler said.
Buckler is asking people to pray and ask for reparation for the theft and the desecration of the church.
The church was open for mass at 6 p.m. Tuesday, and the last person left the building around 9 p.m., according to the diocese. The individual or individuals reportedly entered through a window and did not take anything else or cause any damage, the diocese stated. The tabernacle is roughly 2 feet tall by 1 foot wide, and made of yellow brass.
The Boone Police Department is requesting that anyone with surveillance cameras in those areas check the above time period for suspicious activity.
Anyone with information on this crime or any other crime is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (828) 268-6959 or (828) 737-0125 or the Boone Police Department at (828) 268-6900. Submit a Crime Stoppers tip at www.tipsubmit.com/webtips.aspx?AgencyID=1251 or text “NCTIP plus your tip” to 274637 (CRIMES). All information will be kept confidential.
High Country Crime Stoppers pays rewards for information that leads to arrests, recovery of stolen property, seizure of drugs and the location of wanted persons.
High Country Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization operated by a volunteer community board of directors serving Avery and Watauga counties. High Country Crime Stoppers encourages the reporting of information or leads which can assist law enforcement with solving crimes. Its goal is to help in the fight against crime, but it is not part of the local police departments or sheriff’s offices. Each county has a law enforcement coordinator who participates as an advisor to the board but is a non-voting member. The citizen’s board is responsible for operations of the program, fundraising, public relations and approval of rewards.