Bishop urged to help mourners at Kerry funerals

Kerry County Council looks set to urge the Bishop of Kerry to do more to facilitate mourners at funerals — on foot of a motion before today’s monthly meeting at Kerry County Council.

Mourning in Kerry churches has been a vexed issue over the years, and guidelines under the former Bishop of Kerry, Dr Bill Murphy, sought to curb what was seen by some as the growth in more pagan practices — the overuse of inappropriate secular music, personal mementoes, and lengthy personal reflections within the church during funeral Masses.

However, practises vary between parishes. A booklet is being drawn up on funeral liturgy, but it does not have suggestions how to deal with those wishing to sympathise with the bereaved.

Fianna Fáil councillor Dan McCarthy has placed a motion on the council agenda asking Kerry County Council to ask Bishop Ray Browne to “allow time after funeral masses for people to sympathise with the bereaved families in the Church in parishes where this is not allowed.”

Mr McCarthy said he has become concerned at the pressure on the bereaved, particularly in churches where sympathisers are not allowed shake hands inside church buildings.

Mr McCarthy says he regularly observes “five and six people” surrounding a bereaved person outside the church; and “two to three hands” reached out at the one time. He says this puts pressure on the bereaved.

A spokesperson for the diocese of Kerry this weekend said the request would be studied.


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