Thousands of Bostonians were expected to line the streets Monday morning to watch the funeral procession for former Mayor Thomas Menino. Menino's "Final Ride Home" was scheduled to leave at 10:45 a.m. EST from Faneuil Hall, where his body lay in state over the weekend. The funeral Mass was invite-only and planned for noon. A private burial ceremony will follow.
At 10:45 a.m., bells in Boston churches are to ring 71 times for Menino's age when he died Thursday after a battle with cancer, according to the website for his memorial. The procession honoring Boston's longest-serving mayor was scheduled to pass by many of his favorite spots in the city. A map can be found here.
The procession was to visit City Hall, where he worked for more than 30 years, Parkman House, Boston University and Fenway Park, where Red Sox fan Menino used season tickets and a baseball bat cane, the Boston Globe reported. The procession was to continue toward Dudley Square, where a multiservice center planned by Menino will soon open; Grove Hall, where he built a supermarket; Franklin Park; Bowdoin and Geneva, where Menino walked around and gave toys to children on Christmas Eve; Mattapan Library and Roslindale Square. Along the route, onlookers were expected to hold green and white "Thank You Mayor Menino" signs distributed by the city.
About 400 people attended a public Mass Sunday in Menino's honor, with thousands of people waiting in freezing rain and snow Sunday to pay their respects. "I think the outpouring of feelings and stories, everything people are learning about him, just demonstrates how one guy can really make a difference in people’s lives," Secretary of State John Kerry told the Boston Herald.
The procession was scheduled to end at Most Precious Blood Roman Catholic Church, where Menino was baptized and served as an altar boy. The noon Mass in his honor is private, but the public can watch on a big screen at City Hall Plaza, Boston.com (the Boston Globe) reported.
Menino planned his service before he died, including assigning ceremonial roles to his six grandchildren. “The mayor made his arrangements, and we’re fulfilling his wishes,” Menino spokeswoman Dot Joyce told the Boston Globe. “He’s just giving us another challenge.”
Vice President Joe Biden was expected to attend. He issued a statement Thursday on the mayor's death. "His heart was always as big as the city he loved," Biden wrote, "Even as he should have been in bed, Tommy stood tall, marching through the streets of Boston with a Louisville Slugger for a walking stick... The 'Menino Way' is evident in every park, every school, and every corner of Boston that emerged safer, cleaner and stronger than before."