Irish priest hits out at mourners who bring cigarettes and beer to the alter

Woman stood by a coffin

An Irish priest has said that many mourners arrive at funerals with packets of cigarettes and cans of beer and take them up to the alter as offertory gifts.

Fr Tomas Walsh, of Gurranabraher parish on the northside of Cork has had enough and has hit out at those he feels are not showing enough respect for the occasion.

He wrote in his weekly parish newsletter: “Bringing things such as beer, cigarettes, a remote control, a mobile phone, or a football jersey does not tell us anything uplifting about the person who has died.

Woman stood by a coffin

“Surely items such as a flower, a family photo, a prayer-book or rosary reveals far more about the person who has died — and the loss he/she is to the family.”

Fr Walsh also said that many people made eulogies or speeches that were ‘as long as the ceremony itself – or longer’.

He said: “A Requiem Mass is essentially the coming- together of the family along with the believing community to pray for the person who has died.

“At the hour of death — as we begin the journey home to God and to judgment – we desperately need God’s mercy and forgiveness, no matter how edifying the life of the person may seem.

“In the final hours of Pope John Paul II’s life in 2005, he was told of the immense multitude outside in St Peter’s Square.

“He begged the throngs of people would pray for him. That is the greatest gift we can give our dead – prayer.”

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Written by Michael Kehoe @michaelcallingJoin our community