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Church asks for return of St. Francis statue

Published November 3, 2010 11:34 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

St. Francis, come home. The parishioners at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Magna miss you.

The beloved terracotta statue of St. Francis of Assisi disappeared from the church grounds at 2840 S. 9000 West on the night of Sept. 30, along with several planters.

The 2-foot-high statue has little monetary worth but great sentimental value, said the Rev. John Norman, the church's pastor. It was donated by a lifelong parish member in memory of loved ones.

There was no vandalism and no sign of malicious intent, Norman said. He thinks the statue might have been taken as a practical joke and could be sitting in the yard of someone who has no idea where it came from.

In the Oct. 14 edition of the weekly Today newspaper, which covers the west side of Salt Lake County, the church asked the community to help retrieve the statue. The plea quotes Luke 15:7: "I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance."

The church will take the statue back day or night, no questions asked.

Norman is taking a forgiving view and declines to call the disappearance a theft.

"Stolen is such a pejorative word," the priest said. "It's missing. I like to think it's on a journey."

pmanson@sltrib.com