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New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral says it was tricked in hosting a controversial funeral for a transgender activist on Thursday and would perform a “Mass of Reparation.” 

The funeral for Cecilia Gentili, an Argentinian-born atheist and activist who advocated for the trans community, as well as sex workers and HIV/AIDs patients. 

The event drew more than 1,000 mourners who stoked the ire of the Catholic community for what many regarded as their rowdy and “scandalous” behavior. The outrage was compounded by attendees reverently calling Gentili the “Mother of all W—–.” 

Banner honoring Cecilia Gentili

People with flowers and a banner honoring Cecilia Gentili outside  St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan on Feb. 15, 2024, in New York. (Sheetal Banchariya/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images) (Sheetal Banchariya/New York Daily News/Tribune News Service via Getty Images))

How the cathedral was hoodwinked into hosting the funeral has been the question since Thursday. Rev. Enrique Salvo of St. Patrick’s Cathedral said Gentili’s friends and family had requested “a funeral Mass for a Catholic, and had no idea our welcome and prayer would be degraded in such a sacrilegious and deceptive way.” 


The “scandal,” Salvo said, was made even worse by the fact that it took place as Lent was beginning, the period of preparation for Easter Sunday, the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Salvo said the church had offered an appropriate “Mass of Reparation” at the Cardinal’s direction. That mass took place on Saturday. 

A “Mass of Reparation” is a mass carried out to re-sanctify the church after a scandalous activity. 

Last November, Bishop Robert Brennan performed a Mass of Reparation at the 100-year-old Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in response to a controversial music video filmed by Sabrina Carpenter at the church. 

St. Patrick's Cathedral

FILE: A view of St. Patrick’s Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on March 17, 2021, in New York City. (Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

The video features Carpenter in a scantily-clad black dress as several men kill each other over her. It also shows her attending their funerals at the church with candy-colored coffins, one including the inscription “RIP B*tch.”

On Sunday, Gentili’s family released a statement to news outlets saying they brought “precious life and radical joy to the Cathedral in historic defiance of the Church’s hypocrisy and anti-trans hatred.” 

“Cecilia Gentili’s funeral service, which filled the pews in ways the Cathedral only can during Easter service and NYPD funerals, was a reflection of the love shad had for her community and a testament to the impact of her tireless advocacy,” the statement read. 

“We bestow sainthood upon Cecilia, for her life’s work, for how she ministered, mothered, and loved all people regardless of HIV, immigration, or employment status. Her heart and hands reached those the sanctimonious Church continues to belittle, oppress, and chastise, and she changed the material conditions for countless people, including unhoused people and those who needed healthcare. The only deception present at St. Patrick’s Cathedral is that it claims to be a welcoming place for all.”


Fox News Digital has reached out to St. Patrick’s Cathedral for further comment. 

Fox News’ Sarah Rumpf-Whitten and Lindsay Kornick contributed to this report. 

Bradford Betz is a Fox News Digital breaking reporter covering crime, political issues, and much more. 

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