Losing a loved one can be incredibly difficult. It’s even more difficult when a parent has to bury their child. In these moments can we lean on the Lord for strength and understanding. For the parents of a teen who killed himself, their strength was put to the test when the priest focused on the young man’s suicide more than remembering his life.
Maison Hullibarger was just 18 years old when he took his own life in early December. His funeral was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance, Michigan.
At the service, the priest seemed to focus on the subject of suicide despite the sensitivity of the subject.
“He was up there condemning our son, pretty much calling him a sinner. He wondered if he had repented enough to make it to heaven. He said ‘suicide’ upwards of six times,” dad Jeff Hullibarger, said in a newspaper interview.
“Father, please stop.” Jeff discretely said after approaching the Priest at the service.
His mother also expressed her feelings.
“He basically called our son a sinner, instead of rejoicing in his life. We wanted him to celebrate how Maison lived, not how he died. It was his time to tell everybody what he thought of suicide, [and] we couldn’t believe what he was saying.”
Others at the service were also unhappy about the priest’s comments.
“There were actually a couple of younger boys who were Maison’s age who left the church sobbing,” said his dad.
The Archdiocese of Detroit gave a statement to the press stating the following:
“After some reflection, the presider agrees that the family was not served as they should have been served. For the foreseeable future, he will not be preaching at funerals and he will have his other homilies reviewed by a priest mentor. In addition, he has agreed to pursue the assistance he needs in order to become a more effective minister in these difficult situations.”