Archdiocese of Washington apologizes after Maryland family kicked out of funeral
CHARLOTTE HALL, Md. - The Archdiocese of Washington has issued an apology after a family was kicked out of a funeral in Maryland.
Video captured the confrontation as it played out at Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Charlotte Hall on Tuesday.
Hundreds of people showed up to remember Agnes Hicks, but it ended abruptly when someone knocked over and damaged the church's sacred golden cup, also known as a chalice.
Cellphones recorded the chaotic scene from the church pews as an argument between Pastor Michael Briese and the family carried on as the body of the 54-year-old rested in the open casket nearby.
A short time later, the family was seen carrying the casket out of the church to leave with shocked attendees and police cars in the parking lot.
"This was uncalled for and it really hurt me. It really did To see your loved one come there to rest and to be shut down like that," Larry Hicks, the brother of Agnes Hicks said.
The family said Agnes Hicks was baptized as a young girl at the church in Charles County and it's where she had always wanted her funeral.
Her family said the cup was knocked over when someone went in for a hug and accidentally bumped into the chalice near the altar.
"That's when all hell broke loose. He literally got on the mic and said, 'there will be no funeral, there will be no mass, no repass, everyone get the hell out of my church,'" Shanice Chisely, the daughter of Agnes Hick recalled. "He disrespected our family, he disrespected my mother. He called my mother 'a thing.' He said, 'get this thing out of my church! Everyone get the hell out of my church!' It was very sad. I've never seen anything like that before."
The family said Briese then called the police.
"Bad enough we had to bury our own mother yesterday but for you to say she's a 'thing' and there will be no funeral. You're not a preacher. You're not a pastor. You're not a father of the Lord. You're not any of that. You're the devil," Renetta Baker, the daughter of Agnes Hicks said.
When officers arrived, they determined the family was not in the wrong and escorted them to a funeral home in a different county where another pastor performed their funeral service.
The Archdiocese of Washington has issued an apology to the family that reads in part, "What occurred at St. Mary's Parish this morning does not reflect the Catholic Church's fundamental calling to respect and uplift the God-given dignity of every person nor does that incident represent the pastoral approach the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington commit to undertake every day in their ministry."
The Archdiocese of Washington added that they were taking the matter seriously and it was still under review.
"My mom was supposed to have a great funeral and all this came up and I'm so traumatized by it. I'm going to be thinking about this every day. I'll never forget this day," Davon Chisley, the son of Agnes Hicks said.
FOX 5 has reached out to Saint Mary's Catholic Church for comment but we have not heard back.