CHARLOTTE HALL, Maryland — A Maryland priest has been placed on administrative leave after he booted mourners from a church where they were to hold a funeral.

The Archdiocese of Washington announced Tuesday that Father Michael Briese is on leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

On June 27, before a funeral for Agnes Hicks could begin at St. Mary Catholic Church in Charlotte Hall, WTTG-TV reports a guest knocked over a chalice, damaging it and angering the priest. Hicks’s daughter, Shanice Chisley, said Briese ordered everyone out and disrespected her deceased mother, saying “‘get this thing out of my church! Everyone get the hell out of my church!'”

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Auxiliary Bishop Michael W. Fisher said the incident “does not reflect the Catholic Church’s fundamental calling to respect and uplift the God-given dignity of every person.”

The archdiocese says Briese apologized to the family. In a letter published in the local newspaper, Briese said anger “was the most inappropriate response.”

“Some might dismiss these words, given the tenor of the words I uttered before the funeral that was to take place on Wednesday. That is a just part of the consequence I will bear for my behavior. Like all human beings, I, too, am broken in nature, make mistakes and, yes, I fail,” he wrote.

“My recent actions and words were not borne of kindness, but a failure of my vow to serve the Lord and those entrusted to my care as a person and as priest. I am profoundly sorry for my words and actions. I pray for all in this community every day, and I can only ask that you pray for me, but also for other priests and ministers, and all who seek to serve those who suffer and struggle as we strive to build up the kingdom of God.”

Crux staff contributed to this report.