File photo of Bishop David O'Connell at the San Gabriel Mission Church after a fire in July 2020 File photo of Bishop David O'Connell at the San Gabriel Mission Church after a fire in July 2020  (VICTOR ALEMAN)

Los Angeles mourns murdered Auxiliary Bishop O’Connell

The US Archdiocese of Los Angeles mourns the late Bishop David O’Connell, who was shot and killed on Saturday, and recalls his life of service to the Church as a peacemaker and advocate for immigrants.

By Devin Watkins

Bishop David O’Connell, an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles, was found dead due to a gunshot wound in the suburb of Hacienda Heights on Saturday afternoon.

His body was discovered around 1 PM local time near St. John Vianney Catholic Church, and he was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In a statement on Sunday, the LA County Sheriff’s Department announced detectives are investigating his death as a homicide.

No details related to a possible suspect or motive have yet been released.

‘Heart for the poor and immigrants

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles released a statement on Sunday morning after his death was determined to be a homicide. "We are deeply disturbed and saddened by this news," he said.

Earlier, in a statement on Saturday, the Archbishop had expressed his shock and sadness that “Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell has passed away unexpectedly.”

“He was a peacemaker with a heart for the poor and the immigrant, and he had a passion for building a community where the sanctity and dignity of every human life was honored and protected.”

Archbishop Gomez also recalled 69-year-old Bishop O’Connell as a “good friend” whom he will miss greatly.

“As a priest and later a bishop here in Los Angeles for forty-five years, Bishop Dave was a man of deep prayer who had a great love for Our Blessed Mother,” said the Archbishop.

He encouraged everyone to pray for the late bishop and “for his family in Ireland.”

“May Our Lady of Guadalupe wrap him in the mantle of her love, and may the angels lead him into paradise, and may he rest in peace,” concluded Archbishop Gomez.

Irish priest in American diocese

The late Bishop O’Connell was born in Cork, Ireland, on 16 August 1953.

He studied theology at All Hallows College in Dublin, and was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on 10 June 1979.

Pope Francis appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles on 21 June 2015.

Following his death, mourners held candles and prayed the Rosary near the site of his death.

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19 February 2023, 19:26