By Kevin McAteer
Clanrye News and Sport can exclusively reveal that Newry Cathedral Parish has written to local funeral directors telling them that they intend to charge mourning families £350 to use their chapels during funerals.
After speaking to Clanrye News and Sport a number of local funeral directors have indicated that they received a letter from Newry Cathedral Parish stating that parishioners seeking to have funerals within their chapels in the district will be encouraged to pay an extra £350 to negate the rising cost of living.
After obtaining a copy of the letter, Clanrye News and Sport would like to share its details with the public.
The letter states:
“Dear Funeral Director
The priests and representatives of the finance councils of the parishes within the St Brigids deanery (Newry, Saval and Donaghmore) met following a request to do so by the Archbishop at a recent conference.
Given the financial situation in parishes with the reduction in collections, high energy prices, the parishes were asked to consider ways to generate income.
The three parishes agreed that for the use of the Church for a funeral, to meet the costs of heating and lighting the church, the family would be asked to pay £250.00 and a stipend of £100.00 for the priest.”
It seems Newry Cathedral Parish is now asking those who are mourning the death of their loved ones to pay an extra fee of £250 for the use of the Church and £100 for the priest. The question now is can the Catholic Church not help financially instead of piling more bills on mourning families? It seems the Catholic Church is potentially creating a hierarchy of parishioners.
The letter continued:
“The parish would appreciate the funeral director negotiating these charges with the family and forwarding the amount to the parish. However, if you consider that a family is unable to pay, the charges should be waived.
We appreciate your co-operation in this matter, and it is our hope that the charges would begin on 31st January 2023.”
It seems Newry Cathedral Parish is insisting on local funeral directors doing their “dirty work” for them whilst working as Church debt collectors and negotiating with mourning families for extra money.
What’s next? charge at the door?
We have contacted Newry Cathedral Parish for a comment and at time of print we have had no response.