Mourners gathered Saturday to pay their respects to deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a funeral mass in Washington D.C.
The towering conservative jurist will be buried in a private ceremony following the service at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, NPR’s Nina Totenberg reports to our Newscast unit.
“The shrine, a colorful and large church, is not far from where the justice served for some 30 years,” Nina says.
“Scalia’s sons and sons-in-law served as pallbearers to carry his flag-draped casket up the steps of the basilica,” the Associated Press reports.
Scalia’s son Paul, who is a Catholic priest, conducted the service and delivered the homily.
Here’s an excerpt, which focuses on Scalia’s role as a father:
“We have been thrilled to read and hear the many words of praise and admiration for him — for his intellect, his writings, his speeches, his influence and so on. But more important to us — and to him — was that he was Dad. He was the father that God gave us for the great adventure of family life. Sure, he forgot our names at times or mixed them up, but there are nine of us. He loved us and sought to show that love. And sought to share the blessing of the faith he treasured. And he gave us one another, to have each other for support. That’s the greatest wealth parents can bestow, and right now we are particularly grateful for it.”
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas read a biblical passage from the Book of Romans during the service.
Scalia died at a Texas ranch one week ago. He was 79.
“Dignitaries including Vice President Joe Biden, former Vice President Dick Cheney, members of Congress and all eight sitting justices of the Supreme Court were among those attending. Four of the five Catholic justices took communion,” The Associated Press reports.
On Friday, Scalia’s body lay in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court. Barack and Michelle Obama paid their respects there, and did not attend the funeral service on Saturday.
Nina says “Scalia is only the fourth justice to die in office in the past 65 years, and there is no consistent pattern of presidential attendance at court funerals.”