Thomas M. Menino made countless friends over the course of his life, and many of them would like the chance to bid farewell to Boston’s former mayor at his funeral Monday.
So who decides who gets a seat inside the Most Precious Blood Church in Hyde Park where the service will be held? Menino, of course.
In the months before his death, the former mayor, who died Thursday at the age of 71, left unambiguous instructions about his funeral and his burial, which will be at Fairview Cemetery in Hyde Park, as well as attendees.
Vice President Joe Biden will be among them. He is planning to attend Menino’s funeral, his office announced Friday evening, but it’s unclear if other national political figures, including President Obama or former President Bill Clinton or Hillary Rodham Clinton may be there.
“This is the toughest ticket in town. The mayor would have loved it,” Menino’s longtime spokeswoman Dot Joyce said with a tiny melancholic chuckle.
Most Precious Blood Church, a Gothic-style church with a graceful spire where Menino was baptized, can accommodate about 700 people in the main sanctuary and another 300 in the basement chapel.
Joyce said Menino was emphatic that family members be “front and center” at the service, and that Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Governor Deval Patrick be among the speakers.
“The mayor made his arrangements and we’re fulfilling his wishes,” Joyce said. “He’s just giving us another challenge.”
“We have a crackerjack team, and we’ll make sure everyone we can fit into the church will be there,” she said.
Joyce declined to say who, specifically, is being invited to attend the funeral, but she said the former mayor made his wishes well known, and she and others are working to contact people. A website — TomMenino.org — has been created with details about the funeral.
The details of the service were discussed Thursday during a gathering at Menino’s house on Chesterfield Road in Hyde Park attended by Joyce, members of the former mayor’s family, and Richard Gormley, a longtime close friend of Menino’s and the funeral director at William J. Gormley Funeral Service, which is handling the arrangements, she said.
Gormley, who last spoke to Menino a month ago, called it “an honor” to handle the former mayor’s funeral service, though he said their personal relationship makes it particularly emotional.
In advance of Monday’s funeral Mass, Menino will lie in state at Faneuil Hall starting at 10 a.m. Sunday. There were indications Friday night that Hillary Clinton was likely to visit Faneuil Hall on Sunday. Also on Sunday, a Mass will be said for Menino at 11:15 a.m. at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
A procession will lead to Most Precious Blood Church Monday morning, in what his staff members are calling Menino’s “last ride home.’’
It will pass locations that were special to the late former mayor, leaving Faneuil Hall at about 10:45 a.m., then to Boston City Hall, Parkman House, Boston University and Kenmore Square, Fenway Park, Dudley Square, Grove Hall, Franklin Park, the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood, the Mattapan Library, Roslindale Square and, finally, the church in Hyde Park.
Gormley said he has received several phone calls from associates and friends of the former mayor’s inquiring about attending the service.
He said the list of attendees is likely to include many of the same people who were invited to Menino’s annual State of the City address. That event at Faneuil Hall typically drew a crowd of 800 people, including the governor, members of Congress, and scores of elected officials, community leaders, and businesspeople.
Biden released a lengthy statement Friday praising his longtime friend “Tommy,” whom he characterized as “without a doubt one of the finest mayors this nation has ever seen.”
As details for the official memorials began to fall into place, members of the public signed condolence books at City Hall and in neighborhood libraries and community centers.
Menino’s staff said that letters and cards may be sent to Menino’s office at Boston University, 75 Bay State Road, Boston, MA 02215.
Correction: The church where Thomas Menino was baptized, Most Precious Blood Church, was misidentified in an earlier version of this article as the church where he was also married.