Belfast Telegraph

Cans of beer not fitting for funeral mass warns priest

A priest has urged families not to bring
A priest has urged families not to bring "appalling" items like cigarettes or beer up to the altar during funeral masses. (stock photo)

By Ian Begley

A priest has urged families not to bring "appalling" items like cigarettes or beer up to the altar during funeral masses.

Fr Tomas Walsh, of Gurranabraher parish in Cork, wrote in his weekly parish newsletter about what he considers to be unsuitable items being brought to the altar as offertory gifts.

"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," he 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."

Speaking later, Fr Walsh said most people who offer "inappropriate gifts" are from families of little or no faith.

"A can of beer or a carton of cigarettes tells nothing beautiful about a person's life," he said.

"I find when there's not much faith present, you can get appalling things. Very often it might have been the drink or smokes that had killed the person in the first place. It's like saying 'Mary was a chain smoker so let's bring up a packet of cigarettes' or 'Jimmy was an alcoholic so let's offer up a can of beer'."

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