Family members stood in the back of the truck along with the plain wooden coffin, hand-painted with red roses, as bagpipers played "Amazing Grace" while the procession marched to the funeral at St. Peter Claver Catholic Church in west Baltimore. "He was bigger than life - extremely human and heroic and committed," said actor Martin Sheen, who marched in the funeral parade. "He was a great inspiration and a mentor to me and others."
Berrigan, a former Roman Catholic priest, died of cancer Friday at age 79. He staged some of the most dramatic anti-war protests of the 1960s and was arrested at least 100 times, serving a total of 11 years in prison for his anti-war activities. He led the "Catonsville 9," a group that doused a small bonfire of Selective Service draft records in homemade napalm at a parking lot in the Baltimore suburb on May 17, 1968. His brother, the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, also was a member of the group.
Some mourners carried sticks topped with cloth birds with tattered wings, while others sang Christian hymns and Buddhist monks chanted and beat drums. Ched Myers, 47, an activist, writer and teacher from Los Angeles, said Berrigan was "a historic pioneer in the act of civil disobedience."
In the church, mourners held signs reading "Arm the world with hugs," "Wage Peace," and "Plowshares versus Depleted Uranium," a reference to the name of Berrigan's Plowshares for Peace. "He was a great prophet of peace," said the Rev. John Dear, 43, a Jesuit priest who lives in Cimarron, N.M. "He spoke the truth against war."