Baby Jesus statue returned to New Jersey church 90 years after being stolen
HOBOKEN, New Jersey (WABC/NNS) - A New Jersey church was able to display a statue of the baby Jesus that was stolen 90 years ago, but returned earlier this year by an anonymous good Samaritan.
Officials at Our Lady of Grace Church they received the statue along with a note describing some of the events that kept the baby Jesus away from its home for so long.
The anonymous writer's letter said, "My mom told me that the baby Jesus had been stolen from the church Nativity display at Our Lady of Grace when she was a young girl of about 12 years of age in the early 1930s."
The writer went on to say his or her mother was not involved with the theft. The statue apparently changed hands several times before and after it was stolen.
"Knowing the story, I felt it should be returned to the rightful owner, and you will find it enclosed," the writer finished.
The church says additional letters, asking for forgiveness, have since come from the sender.
"Since it came in what looks like a manger, and paper is like hay, it looks authentic to keep it in that way. Because that's how it was returned to us," explained Father Alex Santora.
Parishioner Ignatious Camporeale said the person deserves forgiveness.
"Absolutely, we forgive them. This really something special that the baby Jesus comes back," Camporeale said.
Father Santora said the notes were from Florida. The postmark said the package originated from Crystal Springs, Florida.
"It's never too late to always own up, it's never too late to say I want to do what's right and I hope that's a message that's universal," Father Santora said.
The baby Jesus statue was returned just in time to be on display during the church's Christmas Eve mass.