R. Sargent Shriver's Funeral in Potomac to be Open to the Public
Shriver's funeral will take place on Saturday at Our Lady of Mercy Parish, where he worshiped for many years.
Update, Jan 21, 8:00 a.m.: The family of R. Sargent Shriver has decided to open Shriver's funeral mass in Potomac Saturday to the public. A spokeperson for the family has released the following statement: "Due to the overwhelming outpouring of condolences and public sentiment regarding the impact of Mr. Shriver’s life –and to honor the spirit of their father – the family has decided to open the funeral Mass to the public. Seating for the public inside will be limited."
Update, Jan. 20 1:45 p.m.: The wake for R. Sargent Shriver will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C., on Friday, according to Shriver's website. The event is open to the public and will include a Christian Eulogy service.
The funeral at Our Lady of Mercy Parish on Saturday will begin at 10 a.m. will be lead by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington. The funeral is not open to the public.
Shriver will not be buried in the Washington, D.C., metro-area, said Rev. Monsignor William English, the pastor at Our Lady of Mercy. According to early funeral records, Shriver will be buried at St. Francis Xavier parish cemetery in Centerville, Mass. where his wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver is buried, English added.
Update, Jan. 19 1:30 p.m.: The passing of R. Sargent Shriver, a former Peace Corps director and vice presidential nominee, has local significance as Shriver was a longtime member of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Potomac.
Shriver — who died on Tuesday at 95 years old — and his wife, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, lived in Potomac for more than two decades and attended Our Lady of Mercy for many years, even after moving to Sunrise at Fox Hill in Bethesda. Shriver, a devout Catholic, attended mass regularly until his passing, said Rev. Monsignor William English, the pastor at Our Lady of Mercy.
“I knew him primarily from the altar,” said English, who interacted with Shriver over the last six years since becoming the pastor. “He came to mass as many days as he could. Even when he was ill, he did the best he could to get to church.”
Toward the end of his life, Shriver still came to mass with his family members, although not as frequently, English said. Several of his children live in the area — his son Timothy Perry Shriver lives in Chevy Chase, and his son Mark Kennedy Shriver is a Bethesda resident.
English described Shriver as a man with a deep faith in the Lord — a relationship that guided his life and political decisions. When at mass, Shriver would often be totally engaged in prayer, English added.
“If everyone was like that, we would have remarkable prayer in the parish.”
Shriver worked to help establish the Inclusion Program at Our Lady of Mercy School — a program that helps provide a Catholic education for students with learning, developmental and intellectual disabilities, according to the school’s website. The Shriver family helped secure a grant from the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation for $150,000 to help start the program about 20 years ago, said Principal of Our Lady of Mercy School, Joan Hosmer. There are currently about 12 students in the program, which integrates special needs students into the regular classroom, Inclusion Program Coordinator Eileen Grams said.
“I think the program is a benefit not only to the special needs children but also for the general education students who learn side by side with the students with special needs,” Hosmer said. “The students not only accept their differences, but also embrace them.”
Shriver’s funeral will take place at Our Lady of Mercy Parish on Saturday and is by invitation only, English said. The Shriver family has not yet set a time for the funeral and is making final decisions about where Shriver’s body will be buried, he added.
In lieu of flowers, the Shriver family has requested that donations be made to the Sargent Shriver Peace Institute.