The records of generations of Catholics who received the sacraments of baptism, Communion, confirmation and marriage at St. Dominic Parish in San Francisco are back in the hands of the Dominican parish three days after the safe in which they were kept at the priory was stolen in an early morning break-in.

“This is a holy moment of grace,” said pastor Dominican Father Michael Hurley in an announcement on the parish Facebook page March 15. He also asked for prayers for the perpetrators of the crime.

A woman who came to the parish earlier in the day claimed that she found the books in a dumpster outside the Safeway on Webster Street. The parish had posted a $10,000 reward for the return of the books.

The thieves boldly rolled the refrigerator-sized safe out of the priory without attracting the notice of sleeping friars and novices and cut it open before discarding it in the Bayview District, where it was located by police.

Parish administrator Michael Rossi told Catholic San Francisco the day after the break-in that the safe contained no cash or items of monetary value other than $9,000 in gift cards the parish keeps on hand to give to the poor. He said the sacramental records, dating back to 1873, while worthless to a thief were “invaluable” to the parish.

In his Facebook post, Father Hurley said “we acknowledge that our church needs to upgrade our security efforts, and we are working on that straightaway. Thank you for your patience and care.”

Full story at Catholic San Francisco.