The relic – a piece of cloth associated with St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes – was taken from an isolated site at Calvary, near Omeath. Measuring 23cms, it was contained in a case attached to a statue of the apostle. The statue suffered minor damage after being knocked over during the theft on Friday afternoon. The shrine is hugely popular with pilgrims from across Ireland who come to pray for favours in the presence of the relic. The theft is just the latest in a series from religious sites.
In March a case containing the preserved heart of St Laurence O’Toole was stolen from Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. In October three relics said to be linked to the cross on which Christ was crucified were stolen from Holy Cross Abbey in Cashel, Co Tipperary. Peter Mallon, who is chairman of the Calvary Development Project in Omeath, described the St Jude relic as ” priceless “. ” We have two relics here that both came from Rome,” he said. ” The one that was stolen is attached to the statue while the other is brought to hospitals and people who need it. ” I left the shrine at 4.20pm and by the time I got to my home in Newry at 4.50pm I got a call to come back. Someone was watching.” Mr Mallon said it was hoped the relic would be returned in time for an event to be held in memory of a local priest, Fr Gentili, during which the bishop of Nottingham will say Mass on the last Sunday in September.
WITH MANY THANKS TO : CONNIA YOUNG, IRISH NEWS.