The news of Muhammad Ali’s death saddened the entire world.
The boxing legend’s memorial service, set for Friday in Louisville, Ky., will bring together world leaders, celebrities, athletes and a priest from Erie.
Monsignor Henry Kriegel, the pastor at St. Patrick Parish on East 4th Street, said he is going because of his friend Ron DiNicola of Erie, who served as Ali’s attorney for many years.
“It’s sort of humbling to be asked, but it’s nice to represent my Catholic tradition as well as Erie,” Kriegel said.
The memorial is a the multi-religion ceremony.
Kriegel said there will be rabbis, Buddhist monks, Islamic figures and even Indian chiefs
Kriegel said he hopes this will unite people of different faiths.
“This may be a very good thing for Americans to see, because we’ll see some of the positives of the Islamic faith rather than what we have been experiencing,” Kriegel said.
This service will take place in the 22,000 seat KFC Yum! Center in Ali’s hometown of Louisville.
Kriegel said he will be delivering a short prayer, remembering a man whose impact goes beyond sports.
“He changed things in the world,” Kriegel said. “He chided our consciousness about racism, he showed us about the absurdity of war, he reached out to the poor the underprivileged etc. “
The memorial will be broadcast on TV Friday and will be live streaming online.