Funeral gifts under fire from Cork priest 

Funeral gifts under fire from Cork priest 

FUNERAL Masses are the latest Catholic tradition being tarnished by modern churchgoers, says Gurranabraher priest Fr Tomas Walsh.

Father Walsh, who has previously spoken out about Godless Godparents and disrespecting the Holy Eucharist, has criticised behaviour he has seen at funerals.

Writing in the weekly Gurranabraher newsletter, Fr Walsh said inappropriate memorabilia is being brought up to the altar at funeral Masses.

“Bringing things such as a can of beer, a packet of cigarettes, a remote control, a mobile phone, or a football jersey does not tell us anything uplifting about the person who has died,” Fr Walsh wrote.

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

Fr Walsh also took umbrage with lengthy eulogies that go on “for as long as the Mass itself, (and sometimes longer)”.

The Catholic priest also said that painting a saintly picture of the dead contradicts the objective of a Requiem Mass.

“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 judgement — we desperately need God’s mercy and forgiveness, no matter how edifying the life of the person may seem.”

Giving an example of the importance of praying to the faithful, Fr Walsh said: “In the final hours of Pope John Paul II’s life on earth, in 2005, he was told of the immense multitude who were gathering outside in St Peter’s Square. In a barely audible voice, he begged that the gathering throngs of people would pray for him. That is the greatest gift we can give our dead — prayer.”

Fr Walsh asked his parish to bring back a Christian understanding of funeral Masses to Gurranabraher.

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