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‘We’ve done up to 70 funerals, people say it’s great to see women leading the service’ – meet Ireland’s lay ministers

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Maura O’Flynn and Michael O’Leary, lay funeral ministers in Crowleys Funeral Home in Ballincollig, Cork. Photo: John Allen

Maura O’Flynn and Michael O’Leary, lay funeral ministers in Crowleys Funeral Home in Ballincollig, Cork. Photo: John Allen

Maura O’Flynn and Michael O’Leary, lay funeral ministers in Crowleys Funeral Home in Ballincollig, Cork. Photo: John Allen

Funeral practices in parishes up and down the country are evolving thanks to Covid and the decline in priest numbers.

Mourners are increasingly seeing lay funeral ministers lead their loved one’s obsequies. When elderly priests were forced to cocoon during the pandemic, they turned to lay ministers to help grieving families.


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