RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – The search is on for whoever stole chalices worth thousands of dollars from a Richmond church. This happened over the weekend at St. Paul's Catholic Church. That is on the 900 block of Rennie Avenue in the city's north side.
Church leaders here think that these thieves came right through the backdoor into the sacristy, and took the 4 chalices. The church was just unlocked around 4:00 Saturday afternoon for the upcoming mass.
Two people were inside the church, but didn't hear a thing.
Wayne Snellings, who not only works at the church, but basically grew up coming to mass here, says whoever took the cups could do so not too long after the church was unlocked.
"That sense of being violated. You don't think people are going to take from a church," said Snellings.
Wayne says the cups are worth about a thousand dollars each. They have been used here at this church for nearly 40 years. In fact, they were just restored and put back into service only 2 months ago.
"We use them for every liturgy in this church: every mass, every wedding, every funeral so they were familiar to the congregation and they were the only set we had," he said.
Terese Lanasa also grew up at St. Paul's.
"It's on them and they have to wear that on their shoulder. It's a shame. It's kind of upsetting," said Lanasa.
Wayne noticed on Saturday, a trash bag was missing out of a trash can. And he thinks that's how the thieves took the cups out of the church. Already, parishioners have offered to donate money to replace the cups. But Wayne is looking for another type of donation: this church's priceless chalices back.
"Give you an opportunity to make it unhappen, leave them here at the door, no questions asked," Snellings said.
But he and others know, realistically, that likely won't happen.
Eventually, the replacement cups will go away and the church will have to replace the stolen chalices, if they are not returned.