St. Mary's Church opposes flowers, eulogy during services, says Potsdam resident
To the Editor:
In response to the Letter to the Editor “Church Not Willing to Honor Service Request,” which appeared in the May 4-10 issue of North Country This Week: I want to thank the author for speaking so earnestly on a topic that has also affected my family, twice.Both of my grandparents were devout members of the Catholic church and wanted nothing but to have a service at St. Mary’s. For my grandmother’s service in March of 2014, we were not allowed to have any kind of flower arrangement in the building because it was during Lent.
My grandmother loved flowers and many of her friends, family and members of the community had sent lovely arrangements to the funeral home. They had to sit in the darkness of the funeral home until we could come and pick them up later that day.
Being winter, we did not bury her then and could not adorn her grave with the flowers so the funeral service would have been our way of making her last visit to the church beautiful. At that time, however, the priest did allow us to have a small eulogy.
It was in August of 2015 when her husband, our grandfather, passed that we were denied the right to honor him with a eulogy. My grandfather was a very loyal person. He served the community his entire life, including the church.
When the new priest told us we could not have a eulogy because it interfered with the order of the service, we were devastated. Whose service was it, really? He did not personally know my grandfather, but felt the right to deny 10-15 minutes of a eulogy and instead fill that time with rituals that I believe were somewhat unnecessary.
At the time we were all drained from the events around my grandfather’s death and had little fight left in us to arrange another service, so we simply went along with it. I look back and wish we would have done something differently to honor them both as they deserved, but it was not in their nature to disagree with the final decisions of the Catholic church, so we held back.
Now I feel it is important to bring the issue to light so future families will have both the opportunity to have their service in St. Mary’s and to honor their family or friends with a eulogy.