Sunday, October 08, 2006

Vandals, thieves, blackguards and rogues

I blogged a week ago about how good it was that we are able to keep the Church open, I tempted fate.

We have had a spate of minor acts of vandalism. We now have only one collection box in the Church, all the others have been stolen during the week, smashed off of the walls or wrenched off of votive candle stands. An opened syringe packet, along with cigarette ends were found in the Church and votive candles have been disappearing at a concerning rate. I do fear that something worse might happen.

Last week was horrible and wet and fewer people have been coming to pray and if a Church isn’t visited by the faithful, rogues, thieves and villains replace them.

It was a difficult decision to open the Church it had been closed for the last fifteen years, having made the decision I really am loathed to start locking it again during the day. My predecessors kept it locked because there are two centres for the homeless and benefit office within a few hundred yards of the Church.

We can’t afford elaborate security measures; we really rely on Archangels with fiery swords. I know that the only answer is to encourage people to come and pray, and to do so myself more often and maybe to encourage people like you to pray for this intention.

HOLY MICHAEL the archangel, defend us in the day of battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God thrust down to hell Satan and all wicked spirits, who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.


DP said...

It is such a blessing to have a parish church open and available for the faithful to come pray during the day before the Blessed Sacrament, especially if there are no perpetual adoration chapels in the area. That being said, we also need to ensure that the church is respected as the house of God and that the Blessed Sacrament is protected.

The parish church in my hometown is open from 7:00am to 5:00pm every day but the parish elementary school is on the same property and adjacent to the church so during the week there are plenty of people around who are able to keep an eye on what's going on around the church. I was puzzled one day this summer though to find that the church was locked (when it was typically open). I asked the pastor about this and he said he had gone into the church earlier and discovered kids rollerblading in the church! Sigh.

It's not an easy decision your facing.

I will join your prayers.

Anonymous said...

keep the Church open,Father,but in this sad day and age perhaps votive lights should only be available at your weekday Masses,likewise empty your one remaining money box daily.I know people will miss not being able to pop in to light a candle but its better to have the Church open,than risk an arson attack.Keep up the good work in your parish and on this blog

Anonymous said...

I suppose a perpetual adoration rota is out of the question?

Anonymous said...

If you're afraid of arson, then electric votive lights might be a good idea.

Anonymous said...

It's good having prayers on the blog. Would you consider doing a prayer a day?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Perpetual Adoration would't work, not enough people would come. We have tried having people in the Church watching but they just become a honeypot for people begging.

As for a prayer a day, I am not very good at writing them but i would recommend, "What does the prayer really say?" Where you will find good liturgical prayers, for each day and lots more. There is also a site called "Fisher Eaters" which has traditional devotions and prayers.

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