Cathedral to hold Philando Castile’s funeral

| July 12, 2016 | 6 Comments

Valerie Castile, left, speaks at a July 12 press conference. Standing next to her is her attorney, Judge Glenda Hatchett. Castile is the mother of Philando Castile, who was shot and killed by a police officer July 6. Maria Wiering/The Catholic Spirit

Editor’s note: Updated July 13 with comments from Archbishop Hebda and information about the funeral procession.

A funeral service for Philando Castile will be held at the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul at noon July 14.

Philando’s mother, Valerie Castile, requested to hold the service at the Cathedral because she wished the funeral to be an ecumenical opportunity for “people to come together in a new way” and pray for peace and reconciliation, according to a July 12 statement from the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

The service will not be a Mass, as Philando was from a non-Catholic Christian tradition, according to the archdiocese. At a July 12 press conference on the Minnesota State Capitol lawn, spokespeople for the family said the Castiles are part of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in St. Paul, and that its pastor, Steve Daniels Jr., plans to deliver a eulogy. Father John Ubel, the Cathedral’s rector, will preside at the funeral.

The funeral’s prayers will focus on the preservation of peace, justice and reconciliation.

“The Catholic Church believes that burying the dead is a corporal work of mercy, and of particular importance in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, as declared by Pope Francis,” the archdiocese stated.

Speaking at the press conference, Valerie Castile said she wanted her son’s funeral to be held at the Cathedral “because he was a king.”

“My son is a king, and he is also a martyr, so I thought that was the best place for his services,” she said.

Judge Glenda Hatchett, an Atlanta-based attorney and former TV host of “Judge Hatchett,” who is representing the family, said the family is grateful to Archbishop Bernard Hebda for his support.

A procession will begin at the Brooks Funeral Home in St. Paul at 9:30 a.m. and end at the Cathedral. A viewing will be held from 10 am. to noon.

In a July 13 statement, Archbishop Hebda said that “the archdiocese was honored that Philando Castile’s mother, desiring that her son’s funeral be  an opportunity for ‘people to come together in a new way,’ thought our Cathedral could be a fitting setting for an ecumenical service at which our community could unite with her family to pray for peace and reconciliation.”

He pointed to Pope Francis’ Sept. 9, 2015, general audience, in which the pontiff said, “The assembly of Jesus takes the form of a family and of a hospitable family, not an exclusive, closed sect.”

“At this difficult moment we feel privileged to have the opportunity to offer hospitality to the Castile family and to our hurting community,” Archbishop Hebda said. “We are praying that our Cathedral might serve as a place where all might encounter a God who offers consolation and hope.”

Philando Castile, 32, who was black, died July 6 after being shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights. His death has prompted demonstrations across the Twin Cities drawing attention to racism and officer-involved shootings of black men.

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  • Cynthia Campbell

    So now defenders of the True Church and True Gospel are censored for politically incorrect content? Catholic blogs are as bad as the liberal mainstream media. It’s a sad past decade for Catholicism.

    • Charles C.

      ???? Censorship? Political correctness? Could you explain what you’re talking about? Who is being censored? Are you sure you responded to the right article?

      The mom wants a prayer service at the Cathedral and gets one. What’s the problem?

      • Brigid Terese

        Apparently many comments have been removed. The Cathedral is not just a building. It is a consecrated sacred place. If you are Catholic, you don’t just get to get buried from the Cathedral, you have to belong to the Cathedral parish. People have concerns about appropriate respect for our sacred mother church.

        • Charles C.

          Dear Brigid,

          I agree with you.

          I think it depends, at least partially, on what the Cathedral was used for. There wasn’t any funeral Mass and Mr. Castile wasn’t buried with a Catholic ceremony.

          Considering what I’ve seen at the Basilica which was described as a Mass, this seems relatively harmless. I could, of course, be quite wrong. Was it handled with dignity? Were the motivations of those involved proper? Was it used to make a political point?

          I’m not quite clear on how there was a lack of respect here, but I’m willing to have it explained to me.

        • LJ

          And your “sacred mother church” is more important than the life that was taken? Please do some research, maybe a little self evaluation, and ask yourself “Would I be having this completely inappropriate conversation if Mr. Castile had been a white man?”

          BLACK LIVES MATTER TOO!!!!!

          People are needlessly suffering and living in fear. You are on the wrong side of history but I believe you could see the truth if you look inside your heart

  • another_engineer

    So glad I left the catholic church 25 years ago.. It’s a circus , with little boys