Priest's Random Act of Kindness Includes Rare Relics

Monday, Apr 15, 2013  |  Updated 12:32 PM EDT
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Priest's Random Act of Kindness

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Relics of St. John Neumann at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C.

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A Pennsylvania priest has arranged for a 230-year-old California mission to receive two replacements of relics stolen last year.

Nine first-class saint relics, which are a chip of the bone of a saint, were taken from Mission San Buenaventura on Oct. 12.

The Ventura County Star says Rev. Gregory Cozzubbo of Philadelphia learned of the thefts during a visit in February.

He arranged to send the mission relics of St. Vincent de Paul and St. John Neumann.

"Talk about random acts of kindness. To have Father Gregory of Philadelphia send this," Rev. Tom Elewaut told the newspaper. "He didn't say anything when he was visiting. It was out of my mind, and all of a sudden in the mail comes a letter of gratitude and a relic."

Ventura police examined video surveillance tapes and recognized the thief as a man already in custody on other charges.

Twenty-six-year-old Edward Burgess has been sentenced to 36 months of probation.

Mission San Buenaventura was founded in 1782.

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