Memorial Mass for 'The Man' scheduled Saturday
Just two days removed from Valentine's Day, Donora will come together to show its love for a native son known simply as “The Man.”
“We expect a lot of people to attend,” said Donora Mayor John Lignelli, who spearheaded the memorial service for Stan Musial 10 a.m. Saturday in Our Lady of the Valley Church on Second Street.
The Rev. Pierre M. Falkenhan, pastor of Our Lady of the Valley, will celebrate the Mass.
“The guy was well loved and well respected in Donora,” Lignelli said of Musial.
Area sports historian Stephen Russell – whose father, Jimmy, played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and was a Musial friend – will deliver the eulogy.
Musial, who died Jan. 19 at 92, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969. Musial amassed 3,630 hits in his 22-season Major League career from 1941 to 1963. It was the National League record until it was broken in 1981 by Pete Rose.
Musial played his entire career for the St. Louis Cardinals, and hit 475 home runs, 725 doubles and 177 triples.
Musial hit greater than .300 in 17 seasons, winning seven National League batting titles and playing in 24 All-Star games. With one more home run, Musial would have won the Triple Crown in 1948.
He served in the U.S. Navy from January 1945 to March 1946.
Last year, the Donora-Monessen Bridge was renamed the Stan “The Man” Musial Bridge.
Russell plans to discuss the impact Musial had on generations of fans and local culture.
Some of Musial's relatives will have roles in the service, including Bible readings during a Mass.
Following the Mass, a video highlighting Musial's career will be shown in the Donora Municipal Building. Refreshments will be served.
There will also be Musial memorabilia on sale, with proceeds benefiting the Donora Smog Committee.
Items for sale will include autographed items, complete with certificates of authenticity, including bats, balls and baseball cards.
Tim Urda of Badzik Printing, who produced cards featuring Musial for the bridge dedication ceremony May 4, handled the program for the service.
It will mimic the program used for a service held in St. Louis. It will feature a photo of Musial on the front cover and another of him and his wife, Lillian – also a Donora native – on the back. She died the morning of the bridge dedication.
Lignelli said he hopes to display a framed 5-foot high, 2-foot wide replica of the card made for the bridge dedication on the altar during the Mass.
Lignelli said he had 5,000 cards made for the dedication service. He has less than 50 left.
“The whole town has been mourning the loss of Stan Musial,” Lignelli said. “We're urging the whole Valley to attend this important Mass to honor what he's done for this whole Valley.”
Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or firstname.lastname@example.org.