Archbishop Donald Wuerl presided and at one point quipped: "There are so many Irish in this Church, I feel like I'm at a casting call for The Quiet Man."
Young Luke Ravenstahl staked out a seat on the aisle in the second pew and during the Prayers of the Faithful could be heard muttering to himself, "Like, I'm the Mayor. Like, I'm the Mayor. Like, I'm the Mayor."
During the Sign of Peace, former Allegheny County coroner Cyril Wecht turned and told several strangers that a second gunman "likely" was involved in Mayor O'Connor's death. Former Mayor Tom Murphy told several mourners that the area around the Cathedral "needs to be revitalized and could use a publicly financed department store or two."
At Mayor O'Connor's request, Pittsburgh's finest participated in the funeral. Legendary traffic cop and funnyman Vic Cianca came out of retirement "one last time" to direct the overflow crowds inside the Cathedral. Chief of Police Dom Costa warned Cianca, with his trademark white gloves and deadpan face, to "downplay the funny stuff." Cianca was largely on his good behavior, but at one point before the funeral mass he pulled out a beer bottle and pretended to be drunk while directing the crowds to their pews.
The chief eulogist was popular PNC Park vendor T.C. Congdon, whose shtick is to point to people in the crowd and call them by the names of celebrities they vaguely resemble. Until last week, Congdon frequently referred to any man with white hair as "the Mayor." He almost slipped yesterday when he interrupted his eulogy and pointed to a white-haired man in the first pew, "Look, it's the May --". Congdon quickly corrected himself: "I mean, look, it's Leslie Neilsen."
After the ceremony, the funeral procession proceeded through Oakland and headed downtown. Twice it took wrong turns and got lost on Pittsburgh's confusing streets. At the late Mayor's request, the funeral procession stopped at Aiello's Pizza in Squirrel Hill. The pallbearers carried the casket into the shop and several patrons allowed them to cut to the front of the line. The pallbearers ordered up one slice each for the man everyone here called "Bob," then they sat at the late Mayor's favorite booth for quiet reflection while they munched away.
Then it was off to Heinz Field where the pallbearers carried the casket to the late Mayor's favorite box to watch the first half of the Steeler's-Dolphin's game. Finally, it was time to proceed to the cemetery.
No true Pittsburgh grave could be dug by anyone other than former Pirates third baseman Richie Hebner. "I made a lot of errors in my time," said the popular ex-Buc, "but coming here to dig this grave for the Mayor wasn't one of them."
Thus ended a period of mourning that lasted slightly longer than the entire O'Connor administration.