LA Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell dies unexpectedly at 69

Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell, a neighborhood of Ireland who spent most of his 4 a few years as a priest ministering in LA’s inside metropolis, has died. He was 69.


“I am very sad this afternoon to report that our beloved Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell has handed away unexpectedly,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles in a press launch Feb. 18 rapidly after receiving phrase of his demise. “It is a shock and I’ve no phrases to particular my disappointment.”

All through Sunday Mass on the Cathedral of Our Girl of the Angels the next day, Archbishop Gomez launched that the LA County Sheriff’s Division had confirmed to the archdiocese earlier that morning that investigators had dominated his demise a homicide. The Sheriff’s division has not equipped further particulars on the circumstances of his demise, which is beneath investigation.


“Bishop Dave,” as he was acknowledged, was episcopal vicar for the archdiocese’s San Gabriel Pastoral Space since 2015, when Pope Francis named him an auxiliary bishop.

In his assertion, Archbishop Gomez said O’Connell is likely to be remembered as “an individual of deep prayer who had a perfect love for our Blessed Mother.”

“He was a peacemaker with a coronary coronary heart for the poor and the immigrant, and he had a passion for developing a neighborhood the place the sanctity and dignity of every human life was honored and guarded,” the archbishop said.

“He was moreover pal, and I am going to miss him drastically,” continued Archbishop Gomez, who requested for prayers for the bishop and his family in Ireland.

“Would possibly Our Girl of Guadalupe wrap him throughout the mantle of her love, and will the angels lead him into paradise, and will he leisure in peace,” said the archbishop.


Born in County Cork, Ireland in 1953, O’Connell studied for the priesthood at All Hallows Faculty in Dublin and was ordained to serve throughout the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1979. After ordination, he served as affiliate pastor in plenty of parishes and as pastor at St. Frances X. Cabrini Church, Ascension Church, St. Eugene Church, and St. Michael Church — all in South LA.

There, O’Connell ministered to a neighborhood by gang violence, poverty, broken households, along with tensions between locals and members of the Los Angeles Police Division and the LA Sheriff’s Division. These tensions lastly boiled over by the LA riots in 1992 that adopted the videotaped beating of Rodney King by cops.

The riots broke out all through Father O’Connell’s first tour at St. Frances X. Cabrini Church (1988-1998). O’Connell would later inform how he was in Washington, D.C., testifying sooner than a panel on Capitol Hill about violence in metropolis America when the riots started. He acquired right here residence days later to look out widespread destruction in a number of his parish’s territory.

Except for aiding neighborhood restoration efforts, O’Connell pushed to revive perception between the inner-city residents and laws enforcement. He and totally different native faith leaders helped handle conferences with cops in people’s properties and provide alternate options for dialogue and reconciliation.

As a pastor, O’Connell moreover seen firsthand the affect of broken households on the neighborhood. That impressed him to rearrange retreats for males — typically throughout the mountains — specializing in simple strategies to be good fathers and husbands, one factor he seen as key to the properly being of a neighborhood.

All through his time as auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles, evangelization, pastoral maintain immigrants, and guaranteeing the way in which ahead for his space’s Catholic faculties had been all excessive priorities for O’Connell, who believed that “parishes and faculties are extremely efficient gadgets of transformation of people’s lives and of neighborhoods.”

In his perform as episcopal vicar for the archdiocese’s San Gabriel Pastoral Space, it fell to O’Connell to accompany the parish neighborhood of Mission San Gabriel, the oldest Catholic outpost throughout the archdiocese, when it was practically completely destroyed in an arson assault in July 2020. O’Connell was on the scene hours after the early morning fire, rosary in hand, to grieve and pray with shocked parishioners.

He later described his perform throughout the rebuilding of the historic church as one “of assist and encouragement.”

By means of the COVID-19 pandemic, O’Connell made headlines when he led a blessing of the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas as he held up a monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament from a close-by lookout.

Making an attempt once more on the impression of the pandemic, O’Connell remarked that Covid-19 “has achieved numerous harm not merely to our properly being nevertheless to our hearts and souls.”

“We’ve been pressured to draw once more from each other. The hazard is after we accept that as common,” said O’Connell in an interview sooner than being honored for his service to the neighborhood and the Church in LA with the Evangelii Gaudium Award from St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo last 12 months.

“I really feel now we now have to ship the enjoyment of the Gospels that Pope Francis talks about — reaching out to 1 one other and serving each other,” he said. “We’ve got to rebuild the fabric of {{our relationships}} so we is normally a hopefulworld.”

He was the chairman of the interdiocesan Southern California Immigration Course of Stress, serving to coordinate the native church’s response to the influx of migrants from Central America in latest occasions and navigating the challenges provided by altering immigration insurance coverage insurance policies.

On the nationwide diploma, O’Connell was the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catholic Advertising and marketing marketing campaign for Human Development.

Nonetheless no matter his prolonged report of accolades and accomplishments, O’Connell was generally called a low-key priest with a down-to-earth demeanor and an Irish brogue he under no circumstances bothered to try hiding. Those who knew him testify that he appeared most snug with the working people he spent all these years with in South LA.

“It’s been the nice pleasure of my life to be the pastor of these people, notably those that’re struggling or in need or going by drawback,” O’Connell said after being named a bishop in 2015. “And it’s been a perfect privilege, a perfect blessing to be given these parishes all these years, to be pastor all these years. The people have touched my coronary coronary heart the way in which by which they’re sincere.”

Editor’s discover: It’s a breaking data story and is likely to be updated with new particulars as they flip into accessible.