PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Mass of Christian Burial was held Monday in Providence for the city’s longest-serving mayor, Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci.
Despite the snow, howling winds and cold temperatures, a large crowd of mourners came out to pay respects to the polarizing politician and radio and TV personality.
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Cianci died Jan. 28 at the age of 74. As his casket was escorted Monday out of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul through a chorus of bagpipes and into an awaiting hearse, local leaders reflected on the somber occasion.
“It was a beautiful ceremony and many of his friends and family and citizens of Rhode Island and Providence were here to say a prayer and pay final respects to Buddy,” said Gov. Gina Raimondo.
“Very nice service in remembrance of all that the mayor has done,” added Cranston Mayor Allan Fung. “As Mayor Paolino said, he cared for Providence. It was a nice service, nice tribute to all that he’s done.”
Thousands of well-wishers poured into Providence City Hall over the weekend to say their final goodbyes to Cianci, who served as mayor of the capital city from 1975 until 1984 and again from 1991 until 2002.
Cianci’s casket was carried down the front steps of City Hall Monday morning and a horse-drawn carriage transported his remains through the city he so loved.
“His love for this city, the boasting of the city, as far as I’m concerned will definitely, definitely be missed,” said North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi.
The Mass was officiated by Providence Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Tobin. City residents who never even met Cianci attended the service and prayed for him because of what he meant to Providence.
“The choir was beautiful,” recalled Olivia Mastro-Giuseppe. “You could hear a pin drop because everyone was so respectful and into the beauty of the Mass.”
“It was so wonderful to see all the people and I felt very sad for his family, especially the grandchildren,” added Donna Folcarelli.
Many of the mourners said it was almost as if Cianci ordered the arduous weather himself just to cap off the day of remembrance with a bang.