People are standing in a line that stretches some 10 blocks in the South End this morning, waiting patiently for the opportunity to attend the interfaith healing service in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings being held today at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
President Obama and his wife, Michelle, are expected at the 11 a.m. service at the South End cathedral along with Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Thomas Menino and invited guests that include victims’ families, first responders, medical personnel, government officials, and volunteers from the Boston Athletic Association, which operates the Marathon.
The cathedral can sit up to 2,000 people, and about half of those seats will be provided to the public on a first-come, first serve basis, organizers said. Some people arrived outside the cathedral at 6:30 a.m. today. Doors opened at 8 a.m. and the long line is slowly starting to move forward.
Also expected to attend are former governors Mitt Romney, William F. Weld, Michael S. Dukakis, and Jane M. Swift.
Organizers said those attending should use the entrance at Washington Street and Monsignor Reynolds Way. The gymnasium of Cathedral High School will offer additional space for public seating.
The Rev. Liz Walker of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, a former WBZ-TV news anchor, will help lead the service, which will feature scripture readings, prayer, music by the Boston Children’s Chorus, and reflections from clergy.
Walker, who led the prayer service on the morning of Patrick’s second inauguration, said she would open the service with a question she said was on many people’s minds.
ANDREW RYAN/GLOBE STAFFCellist Yo Yo Ma warmed up before the service at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross.
Metropolitan Methodios, the hierarch of the Greek Orthodox church in Boston, will offer a welcome; the Rev. Roberto Miranda of Congregacion Leon de Juda in Roxbury, and Nasser S. Weddady, chairman of the New England Interfaith Council and the American Islamic Congress, will offer reflections. Rabbi Ronne Friedman of Temple Israel in Brookline and the Rev. John Borders III of Morningstar Baptist Church in Mattapan will read from scripture.