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Feb 10, 2014

A priest is robbed at gunpoint of the church’s collection

In this newscast, we often report on armed robberies, but a brazen armed attack on a priest on Sunday night, is a new level of crime. A pair of criminals attacked the Saint Martin de Porres priest, Father Brian Christopher as he walked from the church to the rectory. The priest was carrying the collection of Sunday night’s service when he was pounced upon by the two gunmen who were lay-waiting him. It is the third time that the church has been targeted, but the first time that a priest has been attacked and robbed at gunpoint at Saint Martin’s.  The first time the parish was burglarized was back in September 2011 and then again on February sixteenth, 2012.  While back in 2012 incident, Father Christopher as able to ward off his attacker, on Sunday night, the priest, who is considered to be in good shape, was not so lucky. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

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Isani Cayetano, Reporting

St. Martin’s de Porres Parish, a pillar in the namesake community since 1968, was desecrated by a pair of armed robbers on Sunday night, shortly after celebrating St. Valentine’s Mass.  The congregation had already waned noticeably, only a few worshipers hanging around outside the church, when two men pounced on the unsuspecting priest.  Father Brian Christopher has been the main celebrant here, officiating services at the church for the past three years.

 

Brian Christopher

Father Brian Christopher, Parish Priest, St. Martin’s Church

“It was about twenty minutes to nine and some of the parishioners were still lingering around out front and we were cleaning up.  I had the collection basket from the church and I was walking from the church door, fifty feet [or] whatever it is to the parish office.”

 

Lying in wait just outside a nearby gate were his attackers.  While he had noticed the duo moments earlier, Father Brian thought nothing of them, thinking instead that they too were members of his flock.

 

Father Brian Christopher

“Just as I got to the door there was a hand that came in, I don’t know [from] where, it just smacked the basket out of my hand and I turned around and he had a gun.  So I just started screaming, “Take the money! Leave us alone! Take the money and go!”  Over the next, I don’t know how long it took, maybe thirty seconds, thirty-five seconds, he and his friend were on the ground picking up as much money as they could but also waving his gun around telling everybody to get back.”

 

Together they would make off with a little under a thousand dollars in cash and checks, tithes which had been voluntarily contributed to the church.  This is the third occurrence since the Jesuit priest began his ministry at the parish.  The previous incidents were break-ins at the rectory.  Last night’s attack, however, is a new low.

 

Father Brian Christopher

“It’s shocking when somebody robs the church and when people threaten other human beings’ lives with a gun for a thousand dollars in cash.  Desperate people do desperate things but you know what, people have been saying all day, “How could they?  This is the church.  It’s sacred ground.”  And I get that but, you know, this happens every day in people’s homes which is also sacred ground and this kind of victimization happens every day to people who are good people made in the image and the likeness of God.  So this is just one piece of what’s been going on each and every day for however many years.”

 

The collection was to be used for a number of purposes, including the payment of salaries and other community outreach programs.  Its theft will affect those social initiatives.

 

Father Brian Christopher

“We use the money here at the primary school.  We have seven hundred lee pickney here at the school and so whatever we can do to provide services for them, so we have a literacy program here at the school.  We pay teachers’ salaries out of that money.  We pay for the upkeep of the grounds with that money to keep this place beautiful.  But, you know, the money here that we get here at the parish also goes to support the St. Vincent de Paul Society which does outreach to the most indigent.  So [that’s] usually food and clothes.”

 

A police investigation into the robbery remains ongoing.  No arrests have been made. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

 

Up to news time this evening, there have been no arrests in the outrageous robbery of the parish priest. 

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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14 Responses for “A priest is robbed at gunpoint of the church’s collection”

  1. sly deceiver says:

    May God have mercy on u all cause uno just noh know the sal uno throw pan unuself.

  2. BelizeaninAsia says:

    My goodness man! This is horrendous! No respect for the house of God, no respect for the members of the clergy. And to see that they are helpful and supportive of the less fortunate. Belize is completely out of control. They say one cannot and should not blame the government for everything but why is it that in such a small country as Belize crime is so rampant? If the smaller criminals cannot be contained then what can we expect of the bigger crooks?

  3. LOL says:

    DISTASTEFUL!
    It seems these bastards have no respect and to them nothing is sacred anymore.

  4. Rod says:

    Unu need fu go thief from judas barrow and Castro and ministers they have all the money

  5. FAIR JUSTICE says:

    One money you don’t touch is ……TITHES…..that money belongs to God. May God have mercy on the ones that did this crimes. The tithes is used to spread the gospel around the world and for humanitarian purposes.

  6. Buju says:

    When we reach the stage where we rob the collection of a church – we have to know we have gone terribly wrong in our society…

    I hope other criminals see this and take street justice on these scum of the earth…

    I am not perfect and i did wrong many times before but this is an all time low for our country

    What next? We will rob the old folks home???

  7. Louisville, Ky. says:

    No respect whatsoever! Moral decay and the absence of a sense of what is right and what is wrong, coupled with a lot of selfishness. Plain and simple.

  8. Al Rich says:

    Belize has become a country of so many people who have no hope, people who see no future. Parents have stopped being parent, children are in many cases left to fend for themselves.

    Blame belongs in two places, the government and the home. There are so many single woman home, women who neglect their children because they are so busy trying to find the next man or scratching out a life for themselves. The government because they have failed to plan for developing the country so that these young people can find jobs.

    These young men hear the miscarriage of justice that is going on at the top of the government. They see no justice is taken, so they have a license to do whatever they feel they want to do.

    People take to the streets demand that your government do better. Crime will forever be with us, but Belize is too small a country to be so overridden with criminals.

  9. Belizean says:

    Respect is a word spoken of often. My horror at this kind of incident is extreme. My question is however, why would we emphasize respect for church and clergy more than a normal class member of society. Why is it worse for them when there’s a robbery compared to a home invasion of some sort in the woods? And I quote the priest, ” but, you know, this happens every day in people’s homes which is also sacred ground…” Where this really hurts is that the monies that were taken were due to be utilized in social well being etc… But I still call it disrespect, I simply wanted to straighten the lines a bit, considering we are all created in the image of God!

  10. Stephen Patrick says:

    I read of this robbery at SpiritDaily.com. How sad. I will pray for the conversion of these men. I searched google and found the website for St. Martin de Porres church http://stmartinsbelize.org/index.php . Let those who are able to donate, to do so out of the kindness of their hearts. God has blessed us, so we should all help the Church in what ever way we can. Our Heavenly Father can bring good things from out of evil.

  11. Stephen Patrick says:

    Ooops! Lots of folks must have thought of contacting the Church. Their mailbox quota was exceeded and may have crashed their site.

  12. Virginia says:

    This in Belize? We see TV commercials all the time telling people they should move there as it is English speaking, safe and a good investment. Seems from the story and the comments that this is just another crime laced island.

  13. LOL says:

    We are not an ISLAND, we are on the mainland of Central America.

  14. moses x says:

    I have a different perspective. But unu weh bex with me.Anyway. God will provide. Just pray harder. Kmmm. Atheist? God will provide. Remember the fish and bread weh rain down from the sky.

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