Copper thieves go against work of Church

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Copper thieves strike again-- this time causing thousands of dollars in damage to a facility that will play a key role in the future of Catholics in our area...

It's a building undergoing renovations to help young men considering the priesthood. Diocese Officials hope they'll be able to stay on track with the opening planned for August.

It's at the corner of Bank and 9th Street where the Diocese of Lake Charles hopes to soon open Vianney House.-- Rev. Nathan Long is to be its director.  "Vianney House is a residence for young men, college age, who are thinking about a vocation to the priesthood. So this gives them an opportunity to discern, in an atmosphere of prayer and quiet and study."

But now thieves have broken in and stolen valuable copper from air conditioners as well as piping that runs from the hot water heater... In all, the damage is estimated at close to $10,000 including water damage from where copper pipes were cut as well as damage to air conditioners now being placed in safe storage until Vianney house is ready to open.  Father Long says the damage is costing, "A considerable amount of cost dollar wise. We have many generous volunteers who have been benefactors to us, very generous patrons of Vianney House who unfortunately had their goods stolen. The other expense of course is time. We're on a schedule hoping to complete by August 4 which is a good time as far as getting the college courses started but also the feast day of St. John Vianney, who it's named after. So we're hoping an opening for that and it slows the process for that."

If there's such thing as a thief with a conscience you have to wonder if he knew he might be interfering with God's work. Says Long, "Realize we're hindering the work of vocations and priestly formation. So, just pray for the success of Vianney house and for the men will be entering, we pray that this may turn in our favor in spite of the damage done."

Meanwhile, they plan to file an insurance claim and install a security alarm.

Diocese officials say the crime was reported to Lake Charles Police. Sergeant Mark Kraus says they are investigating.

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