Fr. Bruce Lopez, 57, dies in Monticello; funeral Mass celebrated in East Moline

Father Bruce D. Lopez

UPDATED — June 23, 2019

A Mass of Christian Burial was offered on  June 13 at St. Anne Church in East Moline for Father Bruce D. Lopez, pastor of St. Philomena Parish in Monticello and St. Michael Parish in Bement.

Father Lopez died at his home on Thursday, June 6, 2019. He was 57.

Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, was principal celebrant of the funeral Mass. Father Joel Phelps, vicar of the Champaign Vicariate, was homilist and spoke of Father Lopez’ kindness.

“The Lord saw Bruce and called him (to priesthood), and brought much fruit from his ministry,” said Father Phelps. (Click here for the full text of his homily.)

Burial was in Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Kewanee.

RAISED IN THE QUAD CITIES

The son of Peter J. and Olivia Leon Lopez, Father Lopez was born in a car on the way to the hospital on July 18, 1961. A member of St. Mary Parish in Moline and St. Anne Parish in East Moline in his childhood, he graduated from Alleman High School in 1979 and went on to major in philosophy and theology and minor in peace and justice at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He completed his studies for the priesthood at the Oblate School of Theology at Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas.

Father Lopez was ordained by Bishop Edward W. O’Rourke on May 28, 1988, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria.

His first assignments were as parochial vicar at Holy Cross in Mendota, where he served for three years, and then one year at Holy Trinity in Bloomington. Father Lopez was named pastor of St. Theresa, Alexis, and St. Aloysius, Wataga, in 1992, and during his four years there he also served as chaplain at Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg.

His other pastorates included St. John, Woodhull, and St. John, Galva (1996-2000); St. Anthony in Spring Valley (2000-03); St. Jude, Peoria (2003-07), where he set in motion the process to explore whether or not to start a Catholic grade school; and St. Patrick, Havana, and Immaculate Conception, Manito (2007-08).

ENJOYED YOUTH MINISTRY

Father Lopez was in his 11th year as pastor of the faith communities in Monticello and Bement.

He especially enjoyed working in youth ministry, was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs and collector of their memorabilia, and loved to garden and make salsa. In Monticello, Father Lopez was a member of Ministerial Alliance and Rotary Club.

In an interview with The Catholic Post on the 25th anniversary of his ordination, Father Lopez said celebrating the sacraments with the faithful were grace-filled experiences.

“Helping people to grow in awareness of God’s love, praying and growing closer to Christ has been very rewarding and fulfilling,” he said.

Survivors include his mother, Olivia, of East Moline; siblings, Joe Lopez, Davenport, Iowa, Julie Lopez, Eldridge, Iowa, and Marie (Jerry) Schadel Jr., Donahue, Iowa; nine nieces and nephews; 12 great-nieces and great-nephews, and a large family of aunts, uncles and cousins.

Memorials may be made to the Clergymen’s Aid Society of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria, the Northwest Teens Encounter Christ program, to the family or to have Masses offered.

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