Youghal Celebrant Hits Out at Priest’s Inappropriate Offertory Funeral Gifts Remark

By Seamus Whelehan

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An East Cork celebrant has hit out at recent comments by a Catholic Priest who objects to inappropriate items being used as offertory gifts to represent the deceased’s life.
Last week Fr Tomas Walsh, a Parish Priest in Gurranabraher Cork City, told parishioners “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.”
Liam McCarthy, a Youghal based Civil Celebrant, says the Priest’s attack on grieving families was unfair and inappropriate.
He said while Fr Walsh was “playing by the rules of the club” the structure of the Funeral Service must be true to the deceased person.
“Grieving is something that never fully heals. It’s something you live with, and you start that on the day of the funeral. You are creating new memories for the first time, without that person.”
“In order to handle grief properly it’s probably right to acknowledge fully the life important to the persons left behind.”
“Let it be a betting slip, let it be a can of beer, you celebrate, the good and the bad, the entirety of their life.”
The Cork City Priest also took exception to the length of the eulogy which can often “go on as long as the Mass itself.”
The parish priest stated “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” Said Fr Walsh.
Mr McCarthy, who has Celebrate Life events since 2016, said “Surely a funeral is about celebrating the life lived.”

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