Greeted by a standing ovation, Father Daniel Mallette returned to the altar to celebrate mass for the first time since he was beaten and robbed several weeks ago.
Father Mallette, 80, suffered cuts, bruises and two broken ribs two weeks ago during the robbery, which prevented him from doing his annual Christmas shopping trip.
The Cook County Sheriff's Office, the Fraternal Order of Police, Walgreens and State Representative Bill Cunningham collected hundreds of toys to help out.
“Because Father has been recovering the last couple weeks and has not had time to go out and do his annual shopping, we thought we could help him just as he has helped so many in the community,” Sheriff Tom Dart said in a statement.
The priest handed out toys Tuesday to the youngest members of the parish. It just feels great to be back," he said.
Despite an $8,000 reward, no arrests have been made in the robbery at Saint Margaret of Scotland Church. But Dart said there have been plenty of leads.
“Tuesday's Christmas celebration includes Father doing what he does best, going to mass and giving back to the community," Dart said, "and I could not think of a better medicine for his recovery.”