AN IRISH priest is appealing for families to stop bringing “unsuitable items” like cans or beer of packets of cigarettes to the alter during funeral masses.
Writing in his weekly parish newsletter, Cork minister Fr Tomas Walsh from the Gurranabraher parish of the city urged his parishioners to give more thought to the items they bring to the altar as offertory gifts to deceased loved ones.
"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."
Fr Walsh later defended his comments over “inappropriate gifts” telling the Belfast Telegraph that such items are often from families and friends of little to no Christian 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'."