Man nabbed for stealing religious object from Chapel

The Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament was recovered at the gate of the San Sebastian Cathedral in Bacolod City on December 31, 2023, a day after it was stolen from the Adoration Chapel on December 30, 2023. (Photo courtesy of DYAF CMN BACOLOD/ADSUM)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – Theft charges were filed yesterday against a man who allegedly stole the Monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament from the Adoration Chapel of the San Sebastian Cathedral here on December 30, 2023.

In the Roman Catholic Church and some other churches, the monstrance is a vessel in which the consecrated eucharistic host (the sacramental bread or ostia) is carried in processions and is displayed during certain devotional ceremonies.

Police Major Elmer Bonilla, head of Police Station 1, identified the suspect as Edmar Yanson of Barangay 12 here.

Bonilla said the suspect was arrested a few hours after the religious object, which was sealed in a bag, was found abandoned at the Church’s gate early morning of December 31.

A witness surfaced allegedly identifying Yanson as the person behind the theft incident, which was discovered by the Church around 6:25 p.m. last Saturday. This incident prompted the temporary closure of the Chapel until further notice.

Following the unfortunate incident, Most Reverend Bishop Patricio Buzon of the Diocese of Bacolod said that they were deeply saddened about it.

“This is a very, very sad moment for the Church. We know very well from our faith that this is the most sacred possession of the Church – The Eucharist – The Body of Christ,” Buzon said.

“We don’t judge whoever did this. Maybe he didn’t even realize the gravity of the act, which we definitely condemn,” he added.

He emphasized a call for compassion and understanding, reminding the community of the values that bind them together.

Meanwhile, the suspect denied in a media interview the accusations against him, saying that he did not steal it from the Church.

“Wala ko da ya gakuha sang gina-tumod nila sa akon sa simbahan. Kulbaan man ko kay simbahan na. Ako di ya ila gina papenitensya na wala man ko da kahimu-an,” he said.

The suspect alleged that he was at home when the Church discovered that the religious object was already missing.

On the other hand, Bonilla said the suspect had previous records for theft, but complainants did not proceed in filing a criminal complaint against him.