Wayne Gretzky to deliver eulogy at Brian Mulroney’s state funeral in Montreal

Wayne Gretzky will be among the high-profile figures to eulogize former prime minister Brian Mulroney at his state funeral on March 23, government officials announced Friday.

Mulroney’s daughter Caroline will also speak, along with Canadian media baron Pierre Karl Péladeau, former Quebec premier Jean Charest and former U.S. secretary of state James Baker, who will address the funeral by video link. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will provide “an address” to those gathered at the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal at 11 a.m. on Saturday, officials said. Only those invited will be permitted in the Basilica.

The funeral ceremony will feature prayers, readings, hymns and a communion to be delivered by Archbishop of Montréal Christian Lépine and Miguel Castellanos, rector of Notre-Dame Basilica.

During a briefing Friday, Canadian Heritage officials also said that musical interludes during the funeral will be provided by members of the Montréal Symphony Orchestra (OSM) and the OSM Chorus.

A number of other musicians will also perform, including The Tenors vocal group, Marc Hervieux, Marie-Josée Lord and Elizabeth Theodora Lapham, Mulroney’s granddaughter.

Before the ceremony, the funeral procession will make its way from Saint Patrick’s Basilica to the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal accompanied by RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces escorts, a guard of honour and the Royal Canadian Air Force Band.

Guests will include family, friends, current and former government representatives and dignitaries, and representatives of organizations with which Mulroney had close connections.

A 19-gun salute will be conducted at the end of the ceremony from the Clock Tower Pier in the Old Port of Montréal.

Lying in state and repose

In the days leading up to the funeral, Mulroney will lie in state at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building on Wellington Street in Ottawa on March 19 from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 20. Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be invited in to pay their respects to the Mulroney family privately. 

All members of the public wishing to attend the lying in state will have to pass through security screening. Once inside the building, books of condolence will be available to sign.

A profile photo of Wayne Gretzky
Hockey great Wayne Gretzky will eulogize former Prime Minister along with Canadian media baron Pierre Karl Péladeau, former Quebec premier Jean Charest and former U.S. secretary of state James Baker. (Chuck Burton/The Associated Press)

After the Ottawa event, Mulroney will lie in repose at Saint Patrick’s Basilica on René-Lévesque Blvd. in Montréal from March 21 to 22.

On the morning of March 21, dignitaries and family guests will privately express their sympathies to the Mulroney family at the Basilica.

The public lying-in-repose will take place from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 21, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 22.

Members of the public will be able to sign a book of condolences but should expect to pass through security screening before being permitted into the Basilica.

Canadian Heritage officials said that in lieu of flowers, those who wish to express sympathy should consider making a donation to the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at St. Francis Xavier University or to the Carrefour international Brian-Mulroney at Université Laval.

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