A precious relic belonging to St John Henry Newman was stolen from the Birmingham Oratory, it was announced this week.
The Oratory said that the bone was stolen from its casket in the Newman Shrine.
The Fathers have appealed for anyone who had seen any suspicious activity to come forward.
“Sadly, the only piece of bone thought to have been St John Henry’s was stolen from its casket in the Newman Shrine,” read a notice in the Oratory’s February newsletter.
The bone fragment is one of very few existing first-class relics of St Newman, who was canonised in October 2019.
St Newman was a 19th Century theologian, poet, Catholic priest and Cardinal.
He was particularly dedicated to education, having founded two schools for boys, the Catholic University of Ireland (now University College Dublin) and built Newman University Church in Dublin. His The Idea of a University became a foundational text on Catholic higher education.
Newman died aged 89 and was buried in a cemetery in Rednal, outside Birmingham in 1890.
His grave was later excavated in October 2008.