U.S. Marine Cpl. Hunter Lopez of Indio, one of the 13 U.S. service members who died in a suicide bomb attack at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on Aug. 26, was honored with funeral services at St. Francis of Assisi in La Quinta on Sept. 17-18.
The parish hosted a public viewing from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17 and a private funeral Mass the following morning at 8 a.m. Father James McLaughlin, pastor of St. Francis of Assisi, led the Rosary for Lopez on Friday evening.
Bishop Alberto Rojas was present on Saturday to celebrate the funeral Mass. The bishop began by blessing Lopez’s casket in the back of the church. Six U.S. Marines then carried the casket down the aisle to the front of the church, accompanied by the family.
“This morning, we gather here as people of faith to celebrate the life of a brave man, a young man with a big heart. That makes him a hero,” said Bishop Rojas during his homily. “Hunter was a special gift from God, and a beautiful blessing. As I said, not only for his family, but also for all of us here in this country, because he was serving our country, and he has given his life serving us. And isn’t that what Jesus did?
“We are sincerely and profoundly grateful to him, and to you, the Lopez family. We are honored and proud to have had such a young hero like Hunter, serving others and giving his life serving the nation. And now we want to commend him to God, his creator, and to accompany his family and friends in their sorrow as we come together in Christ’s love,” said Bishop Rojas.
Bishop Rojas compared a sudden loss like the death of Lopez to a blackout, as both leave us confused, disoriented and thrust into darkness. He urged relying on God amid such a loss. “There’s only one thing we can be people of faith can do. And that is the turn to the only light that can take our darkness away, our Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ, who loves us, who leads us into the wonderful peace of the love of God,” said Bishop Rojas.
After the Mass, Riverside County Sheriff’s officers led a procession through the streets in Lopez’s honor. Later that day, Lopez was honored at a public memorial service at Palm Springs Convention Center and then laid to rest at Riverside National Cemetery.
The above comes from a Sept. 24 story in the Inland Catholic Byte.
From “A Tale of Two Hunters: by Phelim McAleer, published on Sept. 6 in the New York Post:
In 2009, a 10-year-old Hunter Lopez announced he was going to serve his country as a US Marine….
In 2014, Hunter Lopez joined his local Sheriff’s Explorer Scout Program. Being part of this junior law-enforcement group would help his application to join the Marines and his plan to enter law enforcement after military service….
A few years later, Hunter Lopez would earn around $2,000 a month as an enlisted Marine….
Hunter Lopez received no special treatment during his enlistment as a Marine. His family said he loved every moment of the four-year stint, even so….
According to Hunter Lopez’s uncle, his nephew spent the years after 2017 trying to be the best Marine: “Every free moment was spent training and perfecting his craft,” he said….
Hunter Lopez was one of 13 US service members killed in Kabul while defending Americans and their allies….
Hunter Lopez’s family took some time to describe the Hunter they knew. They said he “was a badass Marine and a great brother and an awesome son….”
The Lopez family has asked that, in lieu of flowers, mourners donate to the Riverside County Deputy Sheriff Relief Foundation, which helps the families of fallen officers.