While preparing to travel to Mass on Saturday morning, Archbishop Antonio Muniz Fernandes of Maceio was robbed at gun point, along with a deacon and a caretaker at his residence.
“I was targeted by a gun, but the assailants didn't physically assault anyone. They took personal possessions and the little money that was in a wallet,” Archbishop Muniz said, according to the website of the Archdiocese of Maceio. “I’m fine and tranquil. It is normal for anyone who goes through this to be surprised, but thanks be to God nothing serious happened.”
Archbishop Muniz was to be picked up at his house in the Farol neighborhood of the Brazilian city by Deacon Inaldo Pitta in order to celebrate Mass at Saint Goncalo parish. While the deacon was talking to the caretaker, three armed men approached them in a vehicle at around 5:40 am Aug. 5.
The robbers took the deacon and caretaker inside where the archbishop had also surrendered, and forced the caretaker onto the ground. While two men held the group at gun point, the third ran through the house looking for money and valuables. The criminals stole scented oils, the men’s pocket money, and the archbishop’s cross and cell phone, but they broke the phone and left it in the street during their escape.
During a moment of distraction, the deacon was able to hide away in the bathroom, where he called the police. Once the robbers realized he was missing, they fled. Security secretary Paulo Domingos Lima Junior reported the case is already under investigation, but no leads into the thieves' identity have yet been reported.
Colonel Marcos Sampaio, commander of Military Police, also visited Archbishop Muniz to offer his support on behalf of Lima and Governor Renan Filho.