On Saturday, January 9, specialist police officers from Melbourne were called to Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Ararat to inspect a suspicious package.
The package, which had been dropped off near the altar at about 11:40am, was soon declared safe by police.
Saint Mary's Catholic Church parish priest father Andrew Hayes the nature of the package had meant the delivery was handled with caution.
"People will occasionally leave religious items, like a deceased person's rosary beads, holy pictures, or a bible, where the family no longer wants them but they treasure them," he said.
"But this was a metal box with a chain and padlock, which is very unusual. So, I asked the police for advice and they said it looked suspicious to them."
Father Hayes praised both the local police and those who came from Melbourne for their handling of the situation.
"I think the police were excellent," he said.
"They (the Ararat police) had an abundance of caution and asked the experts to come.
"They sealed off the church and brought an x-ray machine from Melbourne, so they were able to tell without opening it that it was a bible and rosary beads.
"They did it with minimum fuss and were kind throughout it all."
Father Hayes said no one was to blame for the incident.
"A misunderstanding, clearly, and no harm was done," he said.
"It was a small thing and was dealt with quietly and simply."
Father Hayes said some simple steps can be made to ensure clarity going forth.
"I suppose the learning for people would be that if they're bringing something like that, then bring it in something where we can identify what's in it," he said.
"Had it been in a cardboard box without a lid, we could have said, 'okay, that's what it is'."
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