BACOLOR—After days of atonement and penance since its monstrance containing the Holy Eucharist was stolen by still unindentified suspects last week, the San Guillermo Parish Church reopened its doors.

Parishioners led by Parish Priest Manny Sta. Maria, as a sign of sacrifice, walked barefoot in a procession heading to the San Guillermo Church after a 6:00 am at the San Vicente Chapel, also in this town.

The main steel gates of the church were first opened to welcome the procession, after which the parishioners took down the black mourning cloth from the front door of the historic church.

Once inside, a Holy Hour was observed where Fr. Sta. Maria disclosed that the consecration of the church has been regained.

“The consecration of our church has been regained and we are very happy about this,” he told Sun.Star Pampanga.

Fr. Sta. Maria added that the “santisimo” in the meantime will have a special container as the donors of the stolen monstrance manifested their willingness to donate another one to be enshrined in the Adoration Chapel.

Parishioners, meanwhile, heaved a sigh of relief that Christmas masses will be celebrated in the church despite the absence of the monstrance. “We’re still waiting for its return. In any case, we rejoice in the name the Lord that the church has reopened,” they said.

The earlier stolen Blessed Sacrament of San Guillermo Parish has been recovered near the area but the monstrance containing it remains missing. The Blessed Sacrament was allegedly found discarded by the thieves who took the monstrance. The monstrance is said to be made of gold approximately worth $2,500.

The Blessed Sacrament is the devotional name of the sacramental bread that Catholics believe, when consecrated, to be the actual body of Jesus Christ.

Among Catholics, desecration of the Holy Eucharist is considered as one of the gravest sins. Intentional host desecration is not only a mortal sin but also incurs the penalty of excommunication.