The Rev. Martin F. McGeough and his colleagues at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in northwest Baltimore have been preaching the value of forgiveness -- and with good reason.
On the evening of March 15, two church volunteers were taking the past day's collection, about $1,400, to a night deposit. Before they could deposit the money, three men robbed them of the money. One had a gun.
Since then, all the money and $4 more have been returned.
"This is probably one for Ripley's Believe it or Not," Father McGeough said today. "We got some interest on our robbery."
One day after the robbery, a man came to the Roman Catholic church on Liberty Heights Avenue and Edgewood Road in Ashburton and handed a housekeeper two envelopes containing about $900 in checks and cash.
Then, on March 27, a note and some more cash was passed through a mail slot at the church, as Father McGeough was watching a movie.
The handwritten note read: "I am truly sorry for the taking the money. Please forgive me. I am repaying it. Sorry."
"We're in an interesting situation," Father McGeough said. "We got our money back . . . . It would be a much more touchy issue if one our volunteers had been hurt or we didn't get our money back."
It's not the first time the small church, with a congregation of 150 families, has been robbed. Two years ago, Father McGeough said, it was broken into four times -- once on Christmas Eve.