They’re praying for Jesus’s second coming.
A bandit swiped the baby Jesus from a Nativity scene in Front of Saint Anselm Church the day after Christmas. But it may have been a good Samaritan, according to officials at the Fourth Avenue house of worship who believe a mentally unstable woman who lives nearby may have been trying to give the statue sanctuary from a storm.
“It was raining that day, and she probably thought she was doing an act of kindness by taking him out of the rain,” said Monsignor James Moloney. “We expect it back soon.”
It was the second messiah-napping in the neighborhood that day.
Someone abducted Visitation Academy’s infant-king effigy from his nativity scene on Dec. 26 as well, but the penitent thief returned the figure a few hours later, and the Ridge Boulevard monastery’s superior called the act a “misunderstanding.”
It’s not the first time that desecrators have bedeviled the two churches — hellions scrawled the letter “X” on two statues outside Saint Anselm in June 2013, and a band of blasphemers defaced several statues on Visitation’s monastery grounds in March 2012, even going so far as to behead a lamb sculpture.
Now pious locals are hoping latest thefts aren’t a sign the trend has resurrected.
“I hope this doesn’t start up all the trouble again,” said Bay Ridgite Mary Farini, a Roman Catholic who attends mass at Our Lady of Angels Church on Fourth Avenue. “This is a sacred thing that people should cherish. It’s a real shame that people do these things.”