Family devastated after priest at young son's funeral service calls him 'a sinner' because he took his own life: 'He might not get into heaven'
Reverend Don LaCuesta who repeatedly kept bringing up the cause of the teenager's death during his funeral won’t be allowed to give sermons at funerals indefinitely
Losing a son is hard on its own, but a Michigan family was left pretty much outraged at their son's funeral after a priest suggested that the dead teen might not get into heaven and also 'called him a sinner' as the boy had committed suicide, according to the family. Maison Hullibarger, the said 18-year-old boy from Temperance, Michigan, took his own life and died on December 4.
The boy's grieving family shared that the priest, Reverend Don LaCuesta, repeatedly kept bringing up the cause of the teenager's death during his funeral, which took place on December 8, reports the Detroit Free Press reports. "It was his time to tell everybody what he thought of suicide, (and) we couldn’t believe what he was saying," said Jeff Hullibarger, Maison’s father, according to the Free Press.
"He was up there condemning our son. He wondered if he had repented enough to make it to heaven. He said suicide upwards of six times," he added. "There were actually a couple of younger boys who were Maison's age who left the church sobbing," Hullibarger said. What's even more shocking is that the boy' parents had spoken with LaCuesta before the funeral about what they wanted to be said during the ceremony at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Temperance.
LaCuesta had reportedly jotted down notes during their conversation, but things took quite the negative turn on the actual day of the funeral. The boy's father tried to stop the talk of suicide by approaching the priest and whispering to him, but the priest simply ignored him. This has led to the family calling for LaCuesta to be removed altogether.
"It’s not OK," Jeff Hullibarger added. "He needs to be held accountable." And in their own way, the family also told the priest not to come to the cemetery, reports WTVG. The boy's mother, Linda Hullibarger, said: "We wanted him to celebrate how Maison lived, not how he died." She also told the Toledo Blade: "He basically called our son a sinner," adding that, "It was what he wanted. He said nothing about what we asked him to say."
Even Jeff himself shared with the newspaper that while the Reverend was speaking, “We (the boy's family) looked at each other and said, ‘What is he doing?' We didn’t ask for this.” Eventually, he walked up to the pulpit and intervened, saying: “Father, please stop.”
The Archdiocese of Detroit has since issued a statement saying that LaCuesta won’t be allowed to give sermons at funerals indefinitely. "We understand that an unbearable situation was made even more difficult, and we are sorry," according to the Free Press. "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."
A GoFundMe page to cover the boy's funeral expenses with an initial fundraising goal of $10,000, had managed to bring in $17,280 from more than 300 people in just a week.