Priest Says Cigarettes And Cans Of Beer Are 'Inappropriate' For Funerals
Funerals aren't the sort of occasion anyone wants to go to (well, that is unless the wake spread is guaranteed to be an unmissable one), and usually this shows in the sort of 'gifts' people bring to the funeral service.
Normally, you would expect a photograph of the departed loved one to be a feature at the altar. There might be a floral display of some kind, and even a heartfelt handwritten letter.
But there are some items that one priest thinks are pretty bad taste - including cigarettes, alcohol and even football shirts.
The Very Reverend Tomás Walsh, of Gurranabraher parish on the north side of Cork, wrote about 'appropriate memorabilia' in his weekly newsletter.
It reads: "More and more, especially when there is little faith present, memorabilia brought to the Altar at Funerals Masses can be most inappropriate.
"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."
Apart from the obvious: they enjoyed a beer and a smoke - maybe while watching football or TV. Or football on TV...
He went on: "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 to the Irish Independent, Fr Walsh added: "A can of beer or a carton of cigarettes tells nothing beautiful about a person's life.
"I find when there's not much faith present you can get appalling things really. One day I saw a massive box of washing detergent being brought up to the altar.
"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'.
"I would have no problem if someone was heavily involved in their local GAA club and wanted to bring up their jersey, but very often these are Manchester United or Chelsea tops.
"I'm not trying to force anyone to stop offering these types of items, but simply to reflect on the gifts that truly represent their loved one's lives.
"I always meet families before funerals and would tell them if a particular offertory gift was inappropriate, but if they're insistent I would always let it go ahead."
Featured Image Credit: PA