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A large statue of the Holy Family situated in front of San Antonio’s St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church has disappeared overnight. Now, the pastor and congregation are praying for its return while others are wondering how the theft could have taken place.
The Holy Family
The statue of the Holy Family had greeted parishioners as they arrived at St. Margaret Mary’s for over 40 years. The artwork featured St. Joseph standing next to Mary, with his arm around her shoulder, and an adolescent Christ with one hand raised in a blessing. Now all that remains is the shallow indent on the plinth where it once stood.
According KSAT News, the disappearance was first noticed by Fr. Jimmy Drennan, pastor of the church. He said he realized the statue was gone almost immediately, because he has a habit of praying before it in the mornings:
“When I back my truck in, I always look across the parking lot, I say a prayer to the Holy Family, and on Thursday right before Mass, it was gone,” Drennan said.
Fr. Drennan noted that St. Margaret Mary’s has had to deal with vandalisms in the past, but never anything like this. The statue was removed with little evidence to go on, with no reported tire tracks or broken bits of the statue left behind. The occurrence adds to the list of Church vandalism incidents being tracked by the USCCB.
One of the most jarring aspects of the disappearing statue is that it could not possibly have been transported by a single person. The statue weighs in at around 300 lbs, and it rested atop a plinth about four feet high. Fr. Drennan suspects that it would take a group to pull it off:
“I imagine it took a team effort for them to do this,” he said. “We are praying that they encourage each other to do the right thing. We are thinking it may be in an alleyway, someone may have stolen it as a prank and dropped it some place.”
The parish priest went on to note that the Holy Family is an especially important symbol, representing “the unity of the community as one family.”
Investigation and prayer
With no leads reported, the congregation of St. Margaret Mary’s can only pray that those who stole the statue have a change of heart. Until then, Fr. Drennan has encouraged parishioners to pray for the statue’s safe return. He said:
“We must first pray for those who have stolen the statue, and then do whatever we can to have it returned,” Drennan said. “We want them to know our doors are always open and that they are a part of this community. We love them and we just want the statue back.”