A private funeral mass for gangster James “Whitey’’ Bulger was held Thursday in South Boston, the same area where Bulger grew up and once ran his ruthless gang.
Bulger, 89, was found beaten to death in a West Virginia prison on Oct. 30, shortly after he was transferred to the location. He was serving a life sentence in connection with a reign of terror that included gun trafficking and murder.
Thursday's mass was held St. Monica Church, according to the archdiocese of Boston. Bulger’s body was present at the service, which was attended only by immediate family members.
The priest who offered the Mass issued a statement to WBZ-TV, saying the service was offered "at the request of and out of pastoral care for the Bulger family."
"The Church is certainly aware of the deep pain that innocent victims of crime and violence live with every day," the statement from Rev. James Flavin, pastor of St. Monica-St. Augustine Church, read.
"As Catholic priests we are called to bury the dead and pray for God’s justice and mercy. We entrust our final judgement to God.”
Among the family members who attended the mass: William "Billy'' Bulger — brother of “Whitey’’ Bulger — and one of Massachusetts' most powerful politicians who served as president of the state Senate for 18 years.
Bulger was nicknamed “Whitey” for his bright platinum hair. Known as one of the nation's most notorious criminals and fugitives, he was the head of a violent South Boston crime ring known as the Winter Hill Gang from the 1970s into the 1990s.
Several movies, including Black Mass and The Departed, depicted his life of crime.
The FBI has contended that Bulger was a longtime informant. He denied that claim.
Officials have said two mobsters are under suspicion in Bulger's killing, but no charges have yet been brought.
Contributing: Jorge L. Ortiz and Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.