TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — An employee no longer works at St. Francis of Assisi University Parish Church in Tuscaloosa after allegedly stealing $300,000 from the church.

Donald Carson, who is the communications director at the Birmingham Catholic Diocese, says the theft happened in early October. He is hoping insurance will help cover the loss.

“Financially we will work through this and our insurance will be involved in this,” Carson said. “Insurance will recover these funds and we are optimistic about that but we don’t know what amount will be recovered.”

Church members were stunned at the news, calling the theft shocking. Melanie Harris is a University of Alabama student who attends church.

“It is really shocking, especially coming from a church and that’s crazy,” Harris said. “If it were anywhere else it would be different, but [to happen at] God’s house is really sad to hear. There should definitely be consequences.”

Carson is asking the community for prayers as the investigation continues.

“It’s painful to deal with something like this within your family, your church family and hope others will join me in praying for the Saint Francis University family as we go through this,” Carson said. “We did uncover apparent misuse of funds at the parish of around $300,000 and it’s been reported to local law enforcement.”

Carson says UAPD was the initial investigating agency but another agency is investigating the case. Charges have not yet been filed against the former church worker, who remains unidentified.