Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
March 1, 2013 Issue
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Jon Dinan | Democrat

Father Bill Scully stands near the back door of his rectory where a thief or thieves broke in and stole cash and valuables while, he celebrated Evening Mass on Christmas at his Narrowsburg church.

Grinch steals Fr. Scully’s Christmas

Story by Jon Dinan
NARROWSBURG — On Christmas Eve a thief or thieves raided a church rectory – and stole several thousand dollars in cash and gifts.
According to State Police, Father Bill Scully was delivering his sermon during the Evening Mass at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Narrowsburg when the parish house that serves as his residence was broken into.
Police and Father Scully believe the burglar(s) kicked in the back door of the rectory located next to the church, and pilfered everything of significant value they could find.
“It was obviously well planned because they knew that I would be over at the church saying Mass, and they knew they had to be out of there before I finished, so they were in and out,” Scully remarked.
The burglar(s) went into the office of the 72-year-old longtime local priest and proceeded to rifle through all of his file cabinets, and drawers. His bedroom, living room, and dining areas were tossed for valuables and several gifts from his flock were stolen from underneath his prized Christmas tree.
“Everything was just strewn about. They took whatever they could. They just grabbed everything,” said Scully
That day, Scully’s belongings were robbed from him – and so was his peace of mind.
“I’ve been rather reluctant to go to bed. I slept on the couch the past two nights,” Scully revealed. “Now every time I go to say Mass I worry what’s going to happen.”
Fortunately many parishioners – even those outside the parish – have rallied behind the priest, donating money and offering whatever help they can give.
“The response of people has been in many ways overwhelming,” said Scully. “I received one particularly large donation from a non-parishioner to help defray the cost. Many parishioners have called and asked what they can do to help. It’s just the idea that someone would do this that leaves me a little disconcerted. They took advantage of a religious observance, and stole Christmas gifts right out from under my tree.
“Things can be replaced but you can’t replace a violation of your space,” added Scully, who happens to be a bladder cancer survivor.
Investigator Michael Rushanski said State Police are following a lead but cannot release any additional info to the public at this time.

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