By Kevin McAteer
Despite the recent news of extra funeral charges by Newry Cathedral Parish at the cost of £350 for the use of the chapel and a priest. It seems Newry Cathedral Parish is “hell bent” on charging the public extra for Weddings, Holy Communions, Confirmations and Baptisms.
The dreaded death tax by Newry Cathedral Parish has been met with severe discontent with parishioners furious at the prospect of paying the Catholic Church to access their religious sacraments.
The priests and representatives of the finance councils of the parishes within the St Brigids deanery (Newry, Saval and Donaghmore) met recently following a request to do so by the Archbishop at a recent conference.
Newry Cathedral Parish stated:
“For the use of all the Churches in this deanery the clergy and the representatives of the finance committee in each parish decided that for a couple getting married there will be a charge of £400.00.
“This includes the administration at parish level prior to the wedding, the heat and light required for the wedding and the stipend for the priest. The fee will be paid when a couple comes to get the papers filled in for the wedding.”
Furthermore a “suggested donation” of £20 for baptism was agreed.
Recently after speaking to Clanrye News and Sport a number of local funeral directors 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. According to the Parish the rising cost of living is the reason behind the excess charges despite the Catholic Church being one of the richest organisations in the world.
The Parish Office added:
“A collection will be taken up during the First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies.
“It is believed that these charges are necessary as the weekly collections have fallen dramatically since Covid and with the current income that parishes are unable to make ends meet if we are to keep all the Churches open.
“It would be a very sad day if we couldn’t maintain all the Churches.
“Parishioners will see for themselves once we publish the 2022 accounts. They will be published as soon as they are available.
“We appreciate your understanding and your ongoing support.”
We have contacted Newry Cathedral Parish for a comment and at time of print we have had no response.