ROAMING gangs have spent the past three months breaking into numerous parochial homes and churches.
At least 15 separate burglaries or break-ins have been reported to gardai across Tipperary and Limerick.
home of Fr William Hennessy in Knocklong, Co Limerick became the latest
to be targeted by thieves while he was celebrating Mass last Saturday
He believes the culprits hid behind a hedge and waited for him to leave.
"There were two of them and they had the window at the back of the house forced open," Fr Hennessy said. "The alarm went off and my good neighbours were across pretty quickly so they had to flee empty-handed."
And brazen thieves have also begun targeting church sacristies – even while Mass is on.
Fr Joe Kennedy – who welcomed President Barack Obama
to Moneygall – valiantly gave chase to a thief who was attempting to
burgle the sacristy of St Joseph's church in the Offaly village on the
morning of January 4.
"I was just after ending Mass and came back in and saw him trying to get out."
Fr Kennedy immediately threw off his vestments and ran after the thief who stole the sacristan's handbag.
"It was some sight alright – me chasing him down straight after Mass," he said.