Draped in a New York state flag, the casket containing the body of former three-term Gov. Mario Cuomo was brought into a Manhattan church where more than 800 mourners were gathered to pay their last respects to the man who spoke for a vision of Democratic politics that was both progressive and pragmatic.
Inside the famed St. Ignatius Loyola Church, dignitaries included Cuomo’s son, Andrew, the current governor; and his other son, CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo. His widow, Matilda, was in the audience along with their daughters.
“The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them,” daughter Maria Cuomo Cole read from the Book of Wisdom.
“Mario Cuomo ever communicated a spirit of inclusivity and care, a spirit of decency and uprightness that inspired love and respect,” said the Rev. George M. Witt, the pastor of St. Ignatius, where some of Cuomo's five children are parishioners and several of his grandchildren have gone to school.
“In the end, it was not so much the eloquence of his words that spoke to us but the eloquence of his life,” he said of the man best remembered for taking on the conservative vision of President Reagan and arguing that the poor and middle class were being ignored by policies such as trickle-down economics.
“There is despair, Mr. President, in the faces that you don't see, in the places that you don't visit, in your shining city,” Mario Cuomo famously said at the 1984 Democratic National Convention in San Francisco, a speech that became known as “A Tale of Two Cities.”
Cuomo, 82, died at his Manhattan home Thursday evening, hours after his son was inaugurated for a second term.
Among the attending dignitaries were: Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, state Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos and Republican-turned-independent former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.