Parishioners at St. Anthony Church in Long Beach prayed fervently after their 780-year-old relic was stolen. When it was returned, they thanked God and the police for bringing their little piece of St. Anthony back home.
"St. Anthony is the patron saint of travelers and lost things but today he's also the honorary saint of the Long Beach Police Department," said the pastor, the Rev. Jose Magana.
This Wikipedia Discussion explains Saint Anthony as the most celebrated of the followers of Saint Francis of Assisi:
Anthony could be said to have become the "quickest" saint in the history of the Catholic Church because he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on May 30, 1232, at Spoleto, Italy, less than one year after his death.
His fame spread through Portuguese evangelization, and he has been known as the most celebrated of the followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the patron saint of his adopted home of Padua, as well as of his native Lisbon, not to mention many other places in Portugal and in the countries of the former Portuguese Empire. He is especially invoked for the recovery of lost items.
The object is rarely put on display, but Magana said he decided to bring it out this year because many of his parishioners have lost their homes, their jobs and their hope in the rough economy.
"He just wanted to come home because it belongs to everyone," Magana said, noting that the relic and its casing appeared to be undamaged.
Detectives found the relic displayed in the living room of Solis' home, about a mile from the church, Luna said. After a news conference on the steps of the church, Magana carried the delicate gold reliquary inside under the watchful eyes of a police officer. He led a prayer of gratitude for about three dozen people in English and Spanish.
Parishioners applauded when a police officer placed the delicate gold and silver reliquary containing a tiny shard of bone on a table at the news conference in front of the church.
Magana credited both his flock's prayers and the hard work of investigators for the return of the cherished relic.
Solis was booked late Thursday and released due to an unspecified medical condition, police said in a statement Friday. Detectives plan to present the case to the district attorney's office for charges next week, the statement said.
Luna said detectives were still interviewing and assessing Solis and do not yet have any motive for the theft.