A Maryland family who was attending the wake of a loved one had a very rude encounter with the priest, who kicked them out and then called the police. Hundreds of people arrived to pay their respects to Agnes Hicks when someone accidentally knocked over the church’s golden chalice. Reverend Michael Briese of Saint Mary’s Catholic Church then got upset and told the mourners to leave.
Hicks’ daughter, Shanice Chisely, told Fox 5 DC: “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, everyone get the hell out of my church.'”
Chisely continued: “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 took the casket outside, where they were met by the police, whom Briese had notified. After they spoke with police, however, it was determined they were not in the wrong. Police escorted the mourners to a funeral home in a different county with another pastor finishing the service.
To make matters worse, Hicks’ family members told Fox 5 that she was baptized at St. Mary’s Catholic Church and her final wishes were to have her funeral there.
Another of Hicks’ daughters, Renetta Baker, explained: “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.”
Davon Chisley, Hicks’ son, also shared: “My mom was supposed to have a great funeral and all this came up and I’m so traumatized by it. I’m going to be thinking about this every day. I’ll never forget this day.”
The Archdiocese of Washington issued a statement explaining: “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.”
While the matter is being investigated, there has not been any announcement about what will happen to Briese.
Among the comments on the Daily Mail‘s coverage of this story was one person who noted: “Completely bizarre. So so sorry for the family, I can’t even begin to imagine how they must feel. I do wonder if this was a completely random act with no previous, could it be early signs of dementia? To lash out like that so publicly over such a minor thing is not explainable in any way other than he is either sick in the head medically, or sick in the head evil.”
Another commenter added: “He is certainly not a man of the Lord. He should be immediately removed and banned from being silently transferred to another church. And it goes without saying that he owes this bereaved family an apology.”
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