A Maryland priest has made headlines after forcing a black family out of his church during their loved one’s funeral.
It was a packed ceremony at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church last week as relatives and close friends paid their final respects to Agnes Hicks, who worked according to her obituary at SagePoint Senior Living Service.
During the ceremony, someone reportedly knocked over the church’s sacred golden chalice. Recorded cell phone footage then showed Pastor Michael Briese arguing with the relatives as they tried to continue with the service.
A short time later, the Hicks family was seen carrying the casket of the 54-year-old out of the church. Hicks’ family said Agnes was baptized at the church and wanted to have her funeral there.
“This was uncalled for and it really hurt me. It really did. To see your loved one come there to rest and to be shut down like that,” Agnes’ brother Larry said to Channel Fox 5 in D.C.
Members of the family say the chalice wasn’t knocked over intentionally. An attendee trying to hug one of the family members knocked it over. Despite the reasoning behind the damaged chalice, it didn’t stop Briese from ordering them out of the church.
“That’s when all hell broke loose. 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,’ ” Hicks’ daughter Shanice Chisely said.
“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.”
WATCH: cell phone video inside Maryland church shows heated argument between Pastor and family laying their loved one to rest. Pastor kicked family and hundreds of attendees out of funeral because someone knocked over and damaged church’s sacred cup @fox5dc pic.twitter.com/MYQEybFYm3
— Anjali Hemphill (@AnjaliHemphill) June 28, 2018
The Archdiocese of Washington saw the video and issued an apology to the family stating the pastor’s actions aren’t a reflection of the Catholic community.
“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.”
Despite the apology, the entire ordeal left a bad taste in the mouths of attendees and family members, who described Hicks as hardworking and generous.
“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,” Hicks daughter Renetta Baker said.
Officers arrived and helped escort the family to another funeral home where the service was completed.