Stolen chalices returned to church

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – It was a joyous day at a Richmond church as some sacred religious items were returned! NBC12 told you about the chalices someone stole from St. Paul's Catholic Church on the city's north side back in August. The congregation thought they'd never see them again. Monday night, members were happy to be wrong.

What seem to be remorseful thieves couldn't have better timing.

"We're calling it the Easter miracle," said Minister Wayne Snellings.

Sunday afternoon, their words were simple, but their deed had an immeasurable impact.  Snellings called NBC12 with the good news.

"Two ladies walked in the side door and presented one of the youth with a white trash bag saying 'these belong to the church,'" he explained.

Inside the same white trash bag they had been taken in on a Sunday back in August were the four cups, valued at $1400 apiece.

Scars from a years' old accident showed the church these are in fact their chalices.  One has dents on the bottom and sits a little lopsided.

St. Paul's never thought they'd get the chalices back.

"The congregation, all of us believed that they were either melted down, out of state, we would never see them again," Snellings told us. "We hoped, but in one way we had given up hope."

Now Snellings said the congregation is praying for the "good thief" who had a change of heart.  And he's standing by the pledge he made on our air eight months ago.

"If they were returned no questions would be asked and none were asked," he said.

So, for this year's Holy Week, there will be tears of joy.

"If you didn't believe in miracles, you should."

The church has upped security since the incident.

Insurance had paid for replacement chalices. St. Paul's is now working with the diocese to figure out the next steps in that process since this new development.

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