Kansas City, Kan., priest unloading pumpkin hit so hard by thieves, he’ll require eye surgery

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Two unknown young people, possibly teenagers, attacked an 82-year-old retired priest as he was unloading a pumpkin from his car Friday afternoon outside the Blessed Sacrament Church, 2203 Parallel Ave.  Father Tom Kearns suffered a shattered eye socket when he was hit in the face.

"I can't get over that, something happening up there to him like that," said Theresa Scott, a parishioner.

The suspects took off in the priest's 2012 light blue Honda Civic.

"What was their situation that they found it necessary to do this, but I did pray for them," said Barbara Beatty, a parishioner. "We just can`t understand. They wanted his car. They wanted his billfold. Take that. Why did they have to hurt him?"

A friend and fellow priest, Father Mark Mertes, says it's believed Father Kearns may have been unconscious for about 30 minutes.

"Absolutely tears my insides out and tests my religion. Why did that happen to a holy man?" asked Jim  Beatty, who has known Father Kearns for 50 years.

Father Kearns was expected to go into surgery either Monday or Tuesday to repair the bone in his face.

"We`re praying! I know he`ll recover, He`s strong and willing and he`s a fighter, we'll pull with him all the way," said Beatty.

The Beattys say Father Kearns frequently walks in the neighborhood and has recently overcome a fall.

"He`s a very dear friend. I visit with him a lot. He walks our neighborhood up and down and in front of our house. He`s just getting back on his feet from a horrible fall," said Jim Beatty.

Father Mertes says he visited Father Kearns in the hospital and he said to tell everyone 'I'll be back.'

No one has been arrested and as of Monday evening, Father Kearns' car and wallet had not been recovered.

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