Justice Scalia's funeral set for Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

The funeral Mass for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is being held at 11 a.m. Saturday (Feb. 20) at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, the largest Catholic church in North America.

Justice Scalia’s body will lie in repose in the Great Hall of the Supreme Court on Friday. Visitors can pay their respects beginning at 10:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

As a sign of honor and respect, Justice Scalia’s chair and his place at the court’s mahogany bench, as well as the doors to the courtroom, are draped in black wool crepe. This tradition began perhaps before the late 19th century and is reserved for sitting justices. The doorway is trimmed after the death of all justices, whether sitting or retired at the time of their death.

Justice Scalia's U.S. Supreme Court chair and bench robed in black

A further sign of respect is seen in flags on the court’s plaza being flown at half-staff for 30 days. President Obama ordered flags across the country and at certain American outposts around the world also to be flown at half-staff until the justice’s interment.

The justice regularly attended a Virginia church offering a Latin Mass which he preferred. His funeral is likely to be a traditional Catholic funeral at the basilica which is adjacent to the Catholic University of America.

The Catholic funeral will begin with the casket processed in to the church to the foot of the sanctuary. It is covered in a white pall which is a symbol reminding us of the baptismal garment of the deceased. During the Mass special prayers will be said over the body.

It is not known at this time who the celebrant of the funeral Mass will be. Since Justice Scalia's son, Paul Scalia, is a Roman Catholic priest, there is obvious anticipation that he will be the Mass celebrant.