SAN ANTONIO – A valued barbecue pit used for fundraising by nearly a dozen churches was stolen over the weekend at Our Lady of Angels Catholic Church, a South Side parish in the 1200 block of Stonewall Avenue.
Father Bill Kraus, a Capuchin Franciscan friar, said he felt “upset, disrespected, violated” when he was told of the theft.
He said it was lent to the church by parishioner Alberto Espinoza for a barbecue fundraiser a week ago.
When Kraus called him, “He was his usual generous self. He said, ‘That’s OK. God will provide.”
Espinoza said wanting to help others, he has volunteered to help stage barbecues to raise needed funds for nearly a dozen churches.
He said that’s why he named it, ‘La Peregrina,” a pilgrim traveling from church to church.
Kraus said Espinoza “loves to put his talent and personality to help our parish and many others.”
The friar said La Peregrina was parked near one of the church buildings when sometime late Friday night or early Saturday morning, thieves using a bolt cutter broke the lock on the mobile barbecue pit. He said they hitched it to a vehicle, drove it through a church parking lot and down a narrow alley to the back gate where they had gained entry.
“They would have had to have it all planned out,” Kraus said.
New to the parish, Kraus said, “This doesn’t disillusion me about being here.”
He said the church has two other barbecue pits but they’re both in need of repair.
Yet he’s optimistic they’ll find a replacement before next year’s big fall festival.
“We’ll still celebrate the goodness that is here and especially the generosity of the people who are here,” Kraus said.
He also said perhaps those responsible will admit they made a mistake.
“We would gladly forgive them,” Kraus said.
But he said it’s important they know, “they’re taking something that belongs to the whole community and it especially belongs to God.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Our Lady of Angels Church at 210-924-6592 or San Antonio Police.