The Santa Monica Police Department is seeking suspects following a break-in at St. Monica Church on Thursday night that resulted in $150,000 worth of audio and video equipment stolen and an attempted desecration of the church’s tabernacle.

A tabernacle is one of the most sacred objects in a Catholic church, according to Merrick Siebenaler, St. Monica’s director of development and communications.

“As Catholics, we believe in the full presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament,” Siebenaler said. “So, we reserve the Eucharist, which is Jesus’ body, in that tabernacle. It’s probably the most sacred spot in any Catholic worship space — more so than the altar, more so than any other places.

“Imagine someone breaking into the tomb of Jesus — that’s what that feeling is,” Siebenaler said.

While photos of the tabernacle show clear attempts to pry it open, the door held.

“We have to pray and forgive those who trespass against us,” Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson, pastor of St. Monica, said on Friday. Torgerson was quoting from the Lord’s Prayer, commonly called the Our Father, one of the bedrock prayers in Catholicism and other branches of Christianity. The prayer asks that God forgive us as we forgive others.

“We say that every day, and we have to believe what we say,” Torgerson said….

The above comes from a March 26 story in the Santa Monica Daily Press.