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Family members, Marines to attend funeral services for USMC Gunnery Sgt.Thomas Sullivan

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WWLP) - The church that Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan attended as a child will be the place where hundreds of mourners will gather Monday morning to say goodbye to the local hero. Sullivan was one of five U.S. service members killed in a shooting attack on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tennessee July 16. In a tribute to the four fallen Marines and one fallen Navy sailor, President Obama said Sullivan would be remembered as “everything a Marine should be.”

Gunnery Sergeant Sullivan’s faith was important to him. He graduated from Cathedral High School in 1994 and received his confirmation at Boston College.

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Monday’s funeral Mass, which will take place at Holy Cross Church on Plumtree Road, is private. The Sullivan family has invited only close friends, family members, and local leaders. They are, however, welcoming any fellow active-duty Marines. Some of those Marines were housed overnight at Springfield College so that they could attend Sunday’s wake and Monday’s funeral.

Ryan Kelleher of Sampson’s Family Chapels (the company handling funeral arrangements) told 22News that the church can fit about 600 people.

This funeral Mass will be presided over by Bishop Mitchell Rozanski of the Diocese of Springfield. Shortly after Sullivan’s death, the bishop said Sullivan was special for his selflessness, and his dedication to the nation.

Following the funeral Mass, the procession will make its way toward the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam.

Around noontime, anyone who can do so is invited to stand along Sumner Avenue (from Perkins Street to Longhill Street) to pay their respects and show their patriotism as Gunnery Sergeant Sullivan makes his last journey through Springfield.

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