The Church of St. Germain located in Val-de-Marne, France was robbed, vandalized, and desecrated by unknown assailants on the night of January 6.
Aleteia reported that the most precious thing the attackers stole was the consecrated hosts kept in the Church of St. Germain, which is located outside of Paris, particularly in Vitry-sur-Seine of Val-de-Marne. The church's pastor, Fr. Joseph Lokendandjala, discovered the burglary and desecration of the church after he was alerted by a parishioner that a small door of the church is open.
Fr. Lokendandjala, who was appointed to the parish in September 1, immediately went to the church and found the door that was usually locked to be broken and open. Upon entering the church, the priest also saw that three boxes of donations and the reception door were also broken. The reception door leads to the room where offerings gathered during the Masses are kept. It was not long for the priest to discover that the altar was desecrated, as well as, robbed.
"At the front of the church, the three tabernacles were opened, including the one where the Blessed Sacrament is kept. They took away the golden ciborium that contained the body of Christ, the consecrated hosts!" Fr. Lokendandjala exclaimed.
"That's the most serious thing, it's the real presence of Christ, the Eucharist that gives us life, that has been stolen. It is a great suffering for us. The degradation of material goods, the theft of gifts, of course it's serious. But this desecration of the body of Christ...What are they going to do with it?" He continued.
According to Catholic Review, there is a need to make reparations by the members of the church and by its pastor whenever the Eucharist of that church is stolen. This is because of the Catholic belief that "Jesus lives in us through the Eucharist," He is the center of the life of the church from whom nourishment and "realization of our faith" come from. Stealing consecrated hosts or the Eucharist is therefore an act of desecration and a grave sin, a sacrilege.
This is the reason why as soon as Fr. Lokendandjala realized that the consecrated hosts were stolen, he immediately closed the church and informed Diocese of Creteil Vicar General Fr. Stephane Aulard as part of the protocol to prepare for a Mass of Reparation. The priest also informed the local police of what happened and filed a complaint about it. The Mass of Reparation was then celebrated on January 8 by Fr. Aulard in behalf of Bishop Dominique Blanchet.
"This Mass of Reparation is essential for the forgiveness of sins, to erase the defilement of the body of Christ. It serves to repair the offenses caused, brought to the church and the sacred, especially to the body of Christ," Fr. Aulard said.
Hate crimes against Christians in European countries have increased by 70% between 2019 and 2020 according to the report released last December by the Observatory on Intolerance Against Christians in Europe. These hate crimes were more prevalent and severe in France, followed by those in Germany and Spain.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's recent report showed 600 hate crimes against Christians in 2019 involving 20 arson attacks and numerous incidents of tabernacles "being broken into, with either hosts thrown on the floor, destroyed, or stolen" in France. An extreme case even involved a tabernacle burned.