The following comes from a November 5 posting on the L.A. Times.
Parishioners at Mission San Buenaventura were stunned by their pastor’s announcement at Sunday Mass: Someone had stolen relics from the 230-year-old mission, including two bone fragments from California mission pioneer Junipero Serra and two from St. Bonaventure, the mission’s patron saint.
In all, nine items were missing, most of them scooped out of a shadow box that had been mounted on the wall of the church’s baptistery, a room set apart for baptisms and, at San Buenaventura, normally entered just twice a month.
A man in Ventura County Jail on other charges has admitted taking the items, police said.
None have been recovered. The relics were discovered missing on Saturday but surveillance videos showed they were stolen last month.
The suspect, who has not yet been identified by police, “probably didn’t know what he was dealing with,” said Father Tom Elewaut, the church’s pastor. “They don’t have much of a street value.”
The tiny bone chips, traditional relics in Catholic churches, were set in ornate medallions. Though the collection was meant to be visible through the baptistery’s padlocked iron gates, church officials mistakenly thought the gates were secure….
Church officials have checked with local pawnshops but come up dry. Police said they were following leads provided by the suspect.
In addition to the relics of Serra and St. Bonaventure, other missing relics were of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Bernard, St. Catherine Laboure and St. Jude Thaddeus.
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