Church Our Lady of Grace and St. Joseph in Hoboken, New Jersey was able to display a complete Nativity for the first time in decades after the statue of baby Jesus was returned, WABC reported.
The church’s baby Jesus was stolen 90 years ago, but was anonymously returned in March.
#USA #NBC #NEWS broadcast by #EMET_NEWS_PRESS: Baby Jesus Missing Since 1930s Appears on NJ Church Doorstep – A New Jersey church has been united with a baby Jesus that was supposedly stolen almost a century ago. Our Lady of Grace and St. Joseph in Ho… https://t.co/LoSQebs6pX
— Richard Krauss (@emet_news_press) March 16, 2018
Rev. Alexander Santora called the local police when a package with no return address was delivered to the church.
After an investigation, the police determined that the suspicious package did not contain anything incendiary, according to NBC 4 New York.
Santora told NBC 4 that the contents were a surprise, and that along with the statue, there was a note dated Jan. 2. The tracking on the package was eventually traced back to Crystal Springs, Florida, though the sender was not identified.
The note was provided to NBC 4 New York and said that the statue had come into the possession of the sender’s grandfather.
“He gave it to my mother after she was married, and she too kept it until her passing when it came to me,” the anonymous note said, according to NBC 4.
“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 note read.
“Knowing the story, I felt it should be returned to the rightful owner, and you will find it enclosed.”
Santora accepted the note without further investigation and reportedly welcomed the statue back into the church’s display.
The reverend said that whoever is responsible for the theft is forgiven.
“They owned up to the fact that it wasn’t theirs and even though it was 90 years later, they returned it,” Santora said.
The statue had been missing so long that no one at the church currently knew the story of the piece or that it had gone missing. The recently returned statue will be displayed in a cardboard box, to remind parishioners of the unique story of the statue’s return.
The church also opened this Christmas after a five-year restoration with the complete nativity scene intact.
“It is the first time that we can celebrate, not only restoring (the church), but restoring Jesus as well,” Santora said. “I think that was the message that I took from it. That it’s never too late to do the right thing.”
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