WASHINGTON — Former colleagues, friends and admirers gathered Friday to remember R. Sargent Shriver, an in-law of the Kennedys and the first director of the Peace Corps.

Hundreds filled Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C., and filed past the casket and photos from Shriver’s life to offer his family their condolences.

“He was the finest man I think I ever met in my life,” said Gene Theroux, 72, of Loudoun County, Va., who worked at the Office of Economic Advancement, where Shriver served as director in the 1960s. “He was full of positive energy.”

“He took a thankless job at President Johnson’s request to run the poverty program,” Theroux said. And though many of the programs were unpopular, Shriver was able to bring people together to get them off the ground, he said.

Rep. Steny Hoyer, former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd and journalist Bill Moyers, who wrote the foreword to a biography of Shriver and worked at the Peace Corps with him, were expected to eulogize Shriver Friday night. Other speakers include Colman McCarthy, who was a speech writer for Shriver, and other friends with Peace Corps connections, C. Payne Lucas and Maureen Orth.

Also attending were Sen. John Kerry, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, AOL co-founder Steve Case, musician Wyclef Jean, White House senior adviser David Axelrod, and singer and actress Vanessa Williams.

Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton are scheduled to speak at a funeral Mass today at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Potomac, Md. First lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey will also attend. Shriver will be buried late Saturday in the same cemetery in Hyannis, Mass., as his wife, Eunice, who died in 2009, according to the Rev. Daniel W. Lacroix, pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church.

Shriver died Tuesday in his native Maryland. He was 95.