Relic stolen from cathedral recovered in Vermont

The relic of the True Cross Christ that had been stolen from the chapel of the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in July is pictured at the cathedral rectory Aug. 18. Vermont State Police recovered the relic Aug. 9 from 34-year-old Earl Frost who later fled. He was arrested Aug. 17 in New Hampshire on an unrelated warrant. Pilot photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

BRAINTREE -- One of the Archdiocese of Boston's most cherished relics that had been missing from its mother church for over a month has been returned to the archdiocese.

The relic of the True Cross, which had been housed in a reliquary in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston's South End, was turned into the Vermont State Police. Officials from the cathedral retrieved the relic on Aug. 15.

The relic, a splinter of wood believed to be from the cross on which Jesus was crucified, was to be placed in its original reliquary at a prayer service Aug. 18 at 7:30 p.m. at the cathedral.

"I think we're thankful it's been returned," said cathedral pastoral associate Bob Travers. "We want to get it back to where it was originally so people can venerate the cross and pause and reflect in prayer."

According to an incident report released by the Vermont State Police, the relic was recovered on Aug. 9 after they received a call about a domestic argument that ensued in a Royalton, Vt. trailer park over the relic involving Earl Frost, 34. Frost, a transient, who turned the relic over to Vermont State Police. Frost claimed he received it from another person in Rhode Island.

According to the incident report, Frost said he had wanted to give the relic directly to the cathedral instead of to law enforcement.

Because Vermont State Police did not have confirmation of the relic's authenticity at the time they received it from Frost, they did not have enough evidence to hold him for possession of stolen property. Once cathedral officials confirmed the relic's authenticity, the Vermont State Police determined they had enough evidence to arrest Frost.

On Aug. 17, Vermont State Police learned that Frost was filling a prescription at a Hanover, N.H. pharmacy. Frost was subsequently arrested by the Hanover Police Department. Vermont police later learned there was an unrelated warrant for his arrest in New Hampshire.

As of press time, Frost was being held on the New Hampshire warrant, but a warrant is still being sought in Vermont.

"We are grateful for the great work of the Boston Police Department in their search for the relic," a statement by Terrence Donilon, spokesman for the archdiocese, said.

"Their professional and diligent work made this effort successful. We also extend our appreciation to the Vermont State Police who assisted in the recovery effort," Donilon added.

When cathedral officials arrived at police barracks, they were asked to confirm the relic's authenticity and place a dollar value on the artifact for legal purposes. While cathedral officials estimated the relic's worth to be between $2,300 and $3,800, they also said the its value is "priceless" given the fact that the papal ring that stamped the wax seal on the rear of the relic's encasement was destroyed after the pope's death. That seal and the red cord that attaches to it, Travers said, verifies the authenticity of the relic.

The Relic of the True Cross was believed to have been taken from the cathedral on June 30, according to the Vermont State Police's incident report. It was discovered missing from its reliquary at the base of a crucifix in the cathedral's Blessed Sacrament Chapel by a staff member on the morning of July 1.

There were also no signs of forced entry, so it was believed the relic was removed during the day when the cathedral was open.

The cathedral immediately notified Boston police.

Since then, the cathedral had hosted prayer services every Wednesday with the intention of recovering the relic, Travers said.

With the relic having been recovered, the previously scheduled Aug. 18 prayer service was to be dedicated to thank God for the safe return of the relic, Travers said.

Aug. 18 was also the feast day of St. Helen of the True Cross, the mother of the Roman emperor Constantine, who is credited with originally finding relics of the True Cross in Jerusalem.

The cathedral's relic was brought from France in the 1800's, a gift from the cathedral's first pastor, Father Abbe de la Poterie.

Father de la Poterie was a French priest who celebrated the first public Mass in Boston on Nov. 2, 1788, a time when Catholics were a minority in the city, according to Father Jonathan Gaspar, co-director of the archdiocese's Office of Worship and Spiritual Life and priest in residence at the cathedral.

Donilon, in the archdiocese's statement on the recovery, also expressed the local Church's willingness to forgive the perpetrators.

"Our prayers have been answered as the Relic of the True Cross has been recovered," the statement said in part.

"God has blessed us with His love and capacity to forgive. We prayerfully carry on His call for forgiveness for those responsible," the statement also said.

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Nation
Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Nation
Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

World
Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

World
Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

World
Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Nation
Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

World
Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Nation
Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

World
Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

World
What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

World
Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...

Nation
Addicts and their loved ones talk about life with opioid addiction

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- It was a Saturday night, and Billy was eating pizza and watching a sporting event in the basement bedroom of his residence, a ...

Nation
Signers of letter hope Vatican meeting will bring needed steps on crisis

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Signers of an open letter from Catholic women to Pope Francis urging "truth" and "transparency" on the growing sex abuse crisis expressed ...

Local
Community 'overwhelmed and shell-shocked' after gas explosions, says pastor

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

World
Down to earth: Vatican brings together world's meteorite curators

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Rocks, mineral debris and even dust from space are kept in special collections, museums and laboratories all over the ...

World
Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, ...

Nation
'Anything but a picnic' - Cardinal Dolan on the Church's summer of scandal

New York City, N.Y., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken about how the extended sexual abuse scandals facing the Church have taken a ...

Local
Restoring and reimagining: Transformation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

BOSTON -- Considered by many to be the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest Catholic church in New England, ...

Local
Archdiocese says Cardinal O'Malley will personally review all abuse letters

BRAINTREE (CAN) -- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan P. ...

Local
CM receives $2.5M grant from Yawkey Foundations

West Roxbury -- Catholic Memorial, a college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 to 12, announced Sept. 5 that they have received a $2.5 million grant ...

Local
Father Christian Ohazulume removed from ministry

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese announced on Sept. 11 that it had removed a priest from ministry after receiving an allegation that he sexually abused a ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

This week I am in transit to Rome in anticipation of the next meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals. So, I have asked Vivian Soper to share some reflections ...

Nation
Kavanaugh's birth control comments spur controversy -- What did he say?

Washington D.C. (CNA) -- Opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have suggested that a reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs" during ...

Nation
Missouri to enforce abortion regulations in wake of appeals court ruling

Jefferson City, Mo. (CNA) -- Missouri's health department announced Monday that it will immediately being enforcing state laws regulating abortion clinics ...

Nation
Book tells about behind-the-scenes search for St. Peter's bones

HOUSTON (CNS) -- Two Houston men shared a journey through centuries of history and a decades-long archaeological dig under the Vatican to unveil a story ...

World
Update way priests are chosen, accompanied, pope tells new bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The best way to help the Catholic Church, Pope Francis told new bishops, is not by pointing fingers and creating scapegoats, but ...

World
Vatican confirms ongoing Sistine Chapel Choir finance inquiry

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican confirmed an ongoing investigation into financial irregularities involving the directors of the Sistine Chapel Choir. ...

World
After meeting pope, cardinal says he's hopeful about addressing crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston struck a determinedly hopeful tone after his long-awaited meeting with Pope Francis ...

Nation
DA clears Indiana bishop of misconduct, says claim has harmed prelate

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) -- The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend welcomed findings by a Pennsylvania district attorney that cleared Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades ...

World
Cardinal DiNardo calls meeting with pope lengthy, fruitful

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo has called a Sept. 13 meeting between Pope Francis and leaders from the Church in United ...

Nation
What do Church abuse policies mean by 'vulnerable adult?'

Denver, Colo., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- A Vatican summit this February will gather the presidents of bishops’ conferences from around the world. While ...

World
'Elitist, clericalist' church allows abuse to thrive, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sexual and physical abuse by priests and religious and the scandal of its cover-up by church authorities thrive in countries where ...

World
Cardinal Wuerl to ask pope to accept his resignation

Washington D.C., Sep 12, 2018 CNA.- An archdiocesan spokesman has confirmed that Cardinal Donald Wuerl will soon ask Pope Francis to accept his resignation ...

Nation
Pope accepts resignation of West Virginia bishop as inquiry into abuse claims launched

Vatican City, Sep 13, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Pope Francis Thursday accepted the resignation of Bishop Michael J. Bransfield from the pastoral government ...