Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Perpignan Desecrated and Profaned
A "gang of young people" desecrated the church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Perpignan on 23 July, stealing the ciborium, throwing the consecrated hosts to the ground and attempting to set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary. A "gang of young people" desecrated the church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Perpignan on 23 July, stealing the ciborium, throwing the consecrated hosts to the ground and attempting to set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary. On the day of the crime, the church had remained open as usual, but now it is closed outside of services," says Marc Olivier, the parishioner who discovered the scene of desolation.
It was 5.10 p.m. "The sacristy had been broken into, everything was turned upside down, the drawers had been overturned, everything had been searched", describes the resident who immediately warned Father Roger, one of the three vicars of the parish also run by Father Florimond and Father Jean-Marie.
I was at home and I immediately came with my two brothers to see the damage," Father Roger continued, alerting the police immediately. "Without touching anything, I immediately saw that the thieves had searched for and found the key to the tabernacle, located near the cross of Jesus, had opened it, had seized the ciborium, the sacred vessel that contains the consecrated hosts, and had scattered the holy sacraments all over the floor. Father Florimond, equally upset, took a video and photos of the desecration.
In the sacristy, the mess is just as great. The cupboards are open, the chest of gifts and offerings is broken into. "It contained an envelope of 40 euros, which has disappeared," Father Florimond said, noting an attempt to set fire to a statue of the Virgin Mary. "They tried to set fire to a bouquet of dried flowers," added Francine, a member of the congregation who had arrived as backup. The police followed. The investigators were accompanied by a team of forensic technicians, who took observations and samples, in particular fingerprints, which were essential to the investigation.
The church in Bas Vernet, north of the centre of Perpignan, has already been desecrated and looted in the past, with the police powerless to find the perpetrators.