The Archdiocese of Washington has issued an apology after a black family was kicked out of a funeral at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Charlotte Hall, Maryland by a Catholic priest.
FOX 5 DC reports, the confrontation took place on June 26 during the homegoing service of Agnes Hicks, where Pastor Michael Briese abruptly ended the funeral after someone accidentally knocked over and damaged the church’s sacred golden cup — also known as a chalice.
According to Hicks’ family, “all hell broke loose” after the chalice was damaged, which prompted Briese to tell everyone to “get the hell out of my church!”
“He literally got on the mic and said, ‘there will be no funeral, there will be no mass, no repass, everyone get the hell out of my church,’” Shanice Chisely, the daughter of Agnes Hicks recalled to FOX 5 DC. “He disrespected our family, he disrespected my mother. He called my mother ‘a thing.’ He said, ‘get this thing out of my church! Everyone get the hell out of my church!’ It was very sad. I’ve never seen anything like that before.”
The family went on to add that Briese continued his tirade by calling the police.
“Bad enough we had to bury our own mother yesterday but for you to say she’s a ‘thing’ and there will be no funeral. You’re not a preacher. You’re not a pastor. You’re not a father of the Lord. You’re not any of that. You’re the devil,” Renetta Baker, the daughter of Agnes Hicks said.
Upon the officers’ arrival, they determined the family were not in the wrong and proceeded to escort them to another funeral home where another pastor concluded their service.
The Archdiocese of Washington has since issued an apology to the family that reads:
“What occurred at St. Mary’s Parish this morning does not reflect the Catholic Church’s fundamental calling to respect and uplift the God-given dignity of every person nor does that incident represent the pastoral approach the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington commit to undertake every day in their ministry.”
The statement added that the Archdiocese of Washington is taking the matter seriously and the incident is still under review.