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Standing room only at Mass for Hicksville man killed by beer glass shard

So many people packed the pews of the Holy Family Church Friday morning to mourn Michael J. Di Maria, the Hicksville man killed in Boston last weekend by a shard from a flying beer mug, that even the overflow chairs weren't enough to accommodate the crowd.

Di Maria, 23, a graduate of Kellenberg Memorial High School and Sacred Heart University, had just started a new Wall Street job and was visiting Boston for the weekend when the glass thrown as part of an argument fatally sliced his jugular vein.

The speakers at the funeral Mass in Hicksville only hinted at the violent circumstances of Di Maria's death and of the South Boston man, Hector Guardiola, 25, who's been charged with manslaughter and assault.

"We have justified anger at this senseless act, which was not an accident but an awful choice," the Rev. Gerard Gentleman said in his homily.

Authorities say Di Maria wasn't involved in the argument that allegedly precipitated Guardiola's mug throwing.

Gentleman and the others who spoke celebrated memories of Di Maria's 23 years - of sportsmanship, of friendship, of camaraderie - saying he'd given and taught much in his short life.

Tim Galligan, one of Di Maria's Kellenberg buddies and a pall bearer at his funeral, recalled him as a shoulder to lean on, and cry on, and a man he could count on.

"A drinking buddy, a wingman - he was your man," Galligan said at the beginning of the hour-and-a-half-long service.

A few moments earlier, the five pall bearers and Di Maria's parents, Joe and Patricia, wept as the young man's gray coffin was brought inside the Roman Catholic church sanctuary.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts the proprietor at the Lansdowne Pub, where the Aug. 14 incident occurred, told the Boston Globe the establishment would use plastic cups until at least next month, at the behest of city officials, who will hold a hearing into the incident then.

After Friday's service in Hicksville, mourners wept and consoled Di Maria's loved ones as the coffin was placed into a hearse with one of Di Maria sports jerseys hanging on the vehicle's rear door.

"It's such a tragedy. It really was," said mourner James Anastasia, a co-worker of Di Maria's father, Joe Di Maria. "You don't know whether to be angry or sad. You really don't. Myself, I'm angry."

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