Call it the mystery of the missing monstrance.
Nearly 15 years ago, a monstrance and tabernacle were stolen from the Adoration Chapel of the Father Walter Ciszek Center in Shenandoah.
The tabernacle, the locked repository for storing Holy Communion hosts , was found a few months later in the nearby woods. The ciborium, a covered vessel in the tabernacle that holds the Holy Eucharist, also was recovered.
But the monstrance was not found.
Now, in the middle of the Year of the Real Presence in the Diocese of Allentown, a monstrance has been returned to the Church. A monstrance is used to display the Holy Eucharist for public prayer and Adoration, and is used to give a blessing with the Holy Eucharist.
Is it the same monstrance stolen in Shenandoah those many years ago? Some people think it is, and others are not sure. It bears a resemblance, but has no markings that would identify it for sure.
Where has it been all these years? That’s a bit of a mystery.
It may have been found at one point in a dumpster in New Jersey. It apparently spent a number of years in a private home. It probably was discovered because someone was cleaning out the home, and that person decided to try to find its rightful owner.
What is known for sure is that the monstrance was returned recently to St. Elizabeth Parish in Whitehall. Father John Pendzick, who was Pastor at St. Elizabeth at the time, called around to see if any other priests knew about a stolen monstrance.
“We’re just thankful that it was returned, even though the details of its long journey, and even whether it is in fact the monstrance from Shenandoah, are a bit sketchy,” said Monsignor David James, diocesan Vicar General.
After a good cleaning and some needed refinishing, the monstrance will be blessed and then used for Adoration at Divine Mercy Parish, Shenandoah, the home of the Father Walter Ciszek Center.