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Woman sues over priest who criticized son’s death

DETROIT (AP) — The mother of a Michigan teenager who killed himself is suing the Archdiocese of Detroit for the alleged harm she suffered during his funeral when a priest questioned whether her son would go to heaven.

The lawsuit filed Thursday in Wayne County on behalf of the teen’s mother, Linda Hullibarger, names as defendants the archdiocese, Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish and the Rev. Don LaCuesta.

Hullibarger and her husband, Jeff, said they met with LaCuesta in December 2018 to plan funeral services for their 18-year-old son, Maison, and made it clear they wanted the priest to deliver a positive and uplifting message that celebrated the life of their son, according to the complaint.

The suit alleges LaCuesta instead turned his Dec. 8, 2018, homily into a message regarding suicide, questioning whether the teen would go to heaven, The Blade in Toledo, Ohio, reported.

Linda Hullibarger said in a statement that she and her family had “no idea, no indication that was going to happen.”

The Bedford, Michigan, family had not disclosed the nature of the youth’s death to the priest, according to the suit.

“No parent, no sibling, no family member, should ever, ever have to sit through what we sat through. And it’s happened before. When you’re already beyond devastated, why would you make it even worse? No words can describe that (because) you don’t think you could feel any worse,” Hullibarger added in the statement released by Charles E. Boyk Law Offices LLC.