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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Priest apologises for funeral homily that focused on suicide

An American priest criticised for emphasising suicide in his homily during a recent funeral for an 18-year-old who took his own life has since apologised.

“As with any funeral, it was my intent to serve this family in their time of grief, but I fell well short of providing them the comfort they so desperately needed. Instead, I added to their pain. I deeply regret that, and I am sorry,” said Fr Don LaCuesta, parish priest of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Temperance, Michigan.

He expressed his remorse in remarks to parishioners a week after the 8th December funeral of Maison Hullibarger, which received extensive media coverage. His remarks were released on 17th December by the Detroit Archdiocese along with its own statement of apology.

The archdiocese said it regrets that one of its parish priests “was unable to bring comfort to a grieving family at the recent funeral of their beloved son. Our hope is always to bring comfort to situations of great pain, through funeral services centred on the love and healing power of Christ.”

The statement added that what happened made an unbearable situation “even more difficult” and noted that Fr LaCuesta will no longer be preaching at funerals and will have all other homilies reviewed by a priest mentor.

Picture: Teens comfort each other during a vigil for a friend who committed suicide. A Michigan priest, criticised for emphasising suicide during a recent homily at a teenager’s funeral, has apologised and said he “fell well short” of providing the family with the comfort they desperately needed. (CNS photo/Paul Darrow, Reuters).