His grandmother said Lopez will be remembered as a person who was joyous, respectful and of service to his country and community.
Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is one of Mexico’s oldest Indigenous celebrations, during which it’s believed the dead are allowed to visit and comfort the living and delight in the ofrendas, or offerings, left for them on makeshift altars. It’s observed on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, Nov. 1 and 2.
The altar, honoring Lopez and the other service members, will stand at Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, alongside other shrines honoring those who have died of COVID-19 or mental health conditions, and shrines honoring the victims of human trafficking.
With the ongoing pandemic, Día de los Muertos events, although not as restricted as in 2020, will continue to look a little different this year across the southwest U.S.
Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez will lead an outdoor prayer vigil Nov. 1 at the cemetery’s mausoleum, the second time since the event’s founding in 2014 that the vigil will be livestreamed instead of being held in person.
Brian McMahon, a director with the archdiocese’s Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries Department, said that even though the celebration of Día de los Muertos and All Souls’ Day will again be modified, “that has not dampened our efforts to provide a meaningful catechetical day for the children, our evening prayer vigil, All Souls’ Day Mass, and altar displays.”
At the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Illinois, congregants are invited to bring their images of saints to bless, as well as photos and other mementos of their loved ones to build altars with their offerings. Last year, the event was virtual. The Rev. Esequiel Sanchez said that, in this time of COVID-19, they’re “encouraging people to be safe, but not afraid.”
In El Paso, Texas, Bishop Mark Seitz will celebrate the Mass for All Souls’ Day, which will be livestreamed from Mt. Carmel Cemetery on Tuesday, Nov. 2. The faithful can register for the ashes of their loved ones to be buried as part of the internment of ashes following the Mass.