Monday, January 28, 2013

Parishioners rally after church arson in a North County Dublin parish have vowed to “rally around” after an arson attack severely damaged their church. 

St Maur’s church in Rush was set alight in the small hours of Monday morning last by burglars who smashed their way into the building to steal the tabernacle. 

The thieves are thought to have used the garb worn by altar servers to start the fire in the sacristy before fleeing with the tabernacle and its contents, including the Blessed Sacrament.

Though confined to the sacristy, which was very badly damaged, the fire caused extensive smoke damage to the wider body of the church. Burning through the night, the blaze was only discovered when parish priest Fr Kieran Coghlan and his parishioners arrived for early Mass on Monday.

William Ryan, one of the first to view the damage, told The Irish Catholic that, despite their upset, the immediate response of parishioners was to begin offering to do whatever they could to repair St Maur’s.

“We’re all behind Fr Coghlan,” Mr Ryan said. Describing the scene that greeted Massgoers as “a desperate sight”, Mr Ryan said everyone was even more shocked when firefighters confirmed the absence of the tabernacle. “They must have no conscience,” he said, “to take the Blessed Sacrament.”

Having inspected the damage for himself, Fr Coghlan echoed Mr Ryan’s words, describing his upset at “the violation of a sacred place”, but added that he was buoyed by the support offered. “People are truly fantastic here,” he said.

In a Garda search following the fire, the St Maur’s tabernacle was found dumped in another part of Rush and returned to St Maur’s. Fr Coghlan confirmed that its ciboria and the Blessed Sacrament are missing.

Gardaí in Rush are still investigating and seeking those responsible for the arson.

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