By Emily Drooby
The Pastor at Our Lady of Grace in Hoboken, now combined with St. Joseph, explained the church was started after they received a mysterious package, but they couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw what was inside of it.
The Pastor, Father Alexander Santora, explained, “We received a package in the office that looked suspicious. It was crudely wrapped, it wasn’t sent to a person, just the church. No return address.”
Father Santora and his staff called the Hoboken police about the package, which was mailed from Florida. The bomb squad responded.
Father Santora, said, “They found that it was this baby Jesus and there’s an anonymous letter, typed, that stated it was stolen from the church.”
The letter explained the statue was stolen from the Church’s nativity scene in the 1930’s. Generations later the person who had it decided to send it back to its proper place, the church, writing; “Knowing the story, I felt it should be returned to the rightful owner…”
Father Santora called it a, “total surprise” adding he was unaware the statue was stolen so many years ago, but today he’s accepting its return in good faith.
Now almost 90 years later, the baby Jesus statue is back at the church and on display in a different nativity scene. Instead of being in a crib, it’s still in the mailed box as a reminder of its mysterious past. Parishioners are thrilled to see it on display, like Maureen Wilgocki who said, “I was shocked when he said it…Maybe that’s a good sign, maybe we’ll have peace.”
Father Santora explained the returned statue demonstrates a valuable lesson, he explained, “Always do the right thing, no matter how long it takes. You can do the right thing. And I think that’s a universal message.”
The statue will be on display inside this Hoboken church along with their nativity scene until mid-January.