Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston will preside at the funeral of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy tomorrow at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (the Mission Church). The Rev. J. Donald Monan, a Jesuit priest who was the longtime president of Boston College and is now the chancellor, will be the principal celebrant. And the Rev. Mark R. Hession, pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville, will deliver the homily.
First Reading: Curran Raclin, stepson
Responsorial: Kara Kennedy Allen, daughter
Second Reading: Caroline Raclin, stepdaughter
Homily: Rev. Mark Hession
Intercessory Prayers: Kennedy's four grandchildren, and the youngest grandchild of each of his siblings, will read quotes from his speeches. (The family chose to honor the youngest children because Kennedy was the youngest in his family.)
Music by Yo-Yo Ma
Music by Placido Domingo accompanied by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus
"Ave Maria" by Susan Graham of the Metropolitan Opera
Tribute: Edward M. Kennedy Jr. and US Representative Patrick J. Kennedy (sons)
Eulogy: President Obama
Song: America the Beautiful
The family and church officials have essentially chosen to split the roles three ways. Cardinal O'Malley, because of his role as the archbishop of Boston, will technically preside over the funeral, but Fathers Monan and Hession, who had closer relationships with Senator Kennedy, will be far more visible to casual viewers of the liturgy. Monan will celebrate the Mass, which will include presiding over the congregation and reciting the prayers of the Mass and being at the center of the altar during the Eucharist. Hession will deliver the homily, and his task will be to take the readings of the day and apply them to the moment. This is a very typical arrangement, not only at large-scale funerals but also liturgies such as the first Mass of a new priest, in which a bishop will step aside to allow a close friend of the person being honored to celebrate the liturgy.
WHY FATHER MONAN?
Monan, a Jesuit priest, was the longest serving president in the history of Boston College, serving from 1972 to 1996; he is a respected figure in Boston and was a transformational leader for BC, shepherding the institution through a period of enormous growth in endowment and reputation. Kennedy, although not a BC alumnus, was a longtime friend of the institution: he received an honorary law degree there in 1966 (see photo below), and he served as a university trustee from 1976 to 1991. JFK also received an honorary degree from BC, in 1956, and RFK received an honorary degree there in 1960.
Boston College issued a brief statement from Monan just now: "I have known Sen. Kennedy for 35 years as a close friend, as a trustee of Boston College and a person who certainly was one of the strongest advocates for the value of higher education. It is an honor to me to celebrate the Mass," he said. Monan previously celebrated funeral Masses for two other significant American politicians, House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O’Neill, Jr., in 1996, and U.S. Sen. Michael J. "Mike" Mansfield, in 2001.
(Photo, courtesy of Boston College, shows Sen. Edward M. Kennedy receiving an honorary
degree from Boston College President Rev. Michael Walsh at BC in 1966.)