A grieving family publicly expressed their outraged and demanded repercussions after a priest accused their son, Maison Hullibarger, who committed a suicide, of being a sinner during the funeral.
Reverend Don LaCuesta allegedly brought up the 18-year-old’s cause of death several times and even went as far as telling the grieving family that he might not go to heaven due to his sins.
“It was his time to tell everybody what he thought of suicide, (and) we couldn’t believe what he was saying,” the boy’s upset father, Jeff Hullibarger, said days after the funeral which took place at Temperance’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church on December 8.
“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.
“There were actually a couple of younger boys who were Maison’s age who left the church sobbing.”
According to the outraged parents, they had spoken to LaCuesta prior to the funeral and expressed what they wanted to be shared at the funeral – and the topic of suicide wasn’t on the list.
During the funeral, the teen’s family got so upset that the father walked up to the reverend and told him to stop. Nevertheless, LaCuesta ignored his whispers and continued discussing the boy’s ‘sins’.
“He basically called my son a sinner, in front of hundreds of people,” the boy’s mom, Linda Hullibarger, said. “And judged him when he didn’t even know him.”
After the service, Maison’s parents told the reverend to stay away from the ceremony. They also requested the church to take action and discipline the priest.
As the parents’ plea went viral, the Archdiocese of Detroit provided a statement saying that the reverend won’t be permitted to provide sermons during funerals anymore.
“We understand that an unbearable situation was made even more difficult, and we are sorry,” the statement read.
“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.”
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