For an undetermined time just before midnight Saturday, July 23, and into the wee hours of July 24, a local woman apparently entered the church with something other than worship in mind. In fact, the actions of the woman – a middle-aged parishioner – were unholy. Some of the unholiest actions imaginable.Share
The woman poured wine on the vestments the priests wear for Mass, as well as on other linens. She tore out pages of the Bible and other books. She also spread human feces all over the church – on that Bible, on the baptismal font and, yes, all over the Blessed Sacrament.
The church has a special place in the hearts of my dad and our family. My dad has owned farmland and raised up to 350 head of cattle in the area for more than 40 years. He and my late mom attended many Sunday Masses together at St. Clements through the years. Same for my wife and I, our children and many teenagers who have gone to the Eisenbath farm for retreats.
We live in a fallen world, though, a world where a wonderful priest can be martyred while celebrating Mass and where Christians of all denominations can be beheaded for witnessing to the love of Christ. Hatred for the followers of Jesus isn’t new, of course. But when it strikes so close to home in such a profane act is unnerving and heart-breaking.
According to the Bowling Green Times, a woman was arrested the morning of July 25 and “admitted to the property damage. (She) told officers that she was ‘mad at God for how her life turned out.’ She stated later that she later returned to church to ‘seek forgiveness.’ ”
Bowling Green, Mo., sits somewhat quietly at the junction of US highways 54 and 61. Hannibal, home of Mark Twain, is about a 40-minute drive to the north. Driving southeast to St. Louis takes about an hour and a half. Immigrants from Kentucky and Virginia established the town in 1819. That upcoming bicentennial might be a big deal, cause for quite a party.
For the 5,300-or-so folks who call Bowling Green home, life is fairly peaceful. Aside from farming and connected businesses, the town’s biggest employer likes is Northeast Correctional Center, a minimum-medium custody prison that houses about 2,100 men. Despite that, crime still is a surprising development in the area. That’s part of the reason the desecration of St. Clements and of God Himself hit the community so hard. (Read more.)