A theft of long ago continues to cause pain and suffering in the town of Artesia.
Saint Peter of Artesia
“Father, I know the statue of Saint Peter is priceless. I know it is sacred. The townspeople of Artesia have never recovered from the loss. I acknowledge that. Bad luck has befallen the town ever since St. Peter’s disappearance all those years ago. But my hands are tied.”
I spoke in hushed tones. I hadn't been to confession in years. It felt good to unburden myself.
“Son, please take me to the place. It is your duty as a Catholic.”
“I agree, but Father Samuel I cannot. I have lived with this secret for 35 years and must keep the statue’s whereabouts unknown. I am so sorry.”
I was an adventurous kid of ten when this burden fell upon me. I had gotten involved with the wrong crowd back then. After they/we stole the statue, I broke away from them, not wanting to be part of their evilness. But to this day, they keep an eye on me so I can't do the right thing.
I know where they hid it. Where we hid it. Almost daily, I walk past the spot where Sait Peter is hidden, but I don't dare take dear old Father Samuel there. Nor can I bring the statue to him.
These kids were spawns of Satan bent on the destruction of anything holy. And now, as mature adults, they wreak havoc on Artesia in covert, sinister ways.
If I tell of their evil, and/or rescue the statue (and return it to its rightful place on the altar at Saint Barnabas), I will be dealt with harshly. I’m certain harshly is another word for death.
I admit I am a coward. I will have to live with that. So will Father Samuel and the townsfolk of Artesia, I'm ashamed to say.