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Tributes paid to Irish auxiliary bishop shot dead in Los Angeles yesterday

The 69-year-old Cork man was remembered by colleagues as a ‘peacemaker’ and had served the LA community for 45 years.

CATHOLIC LEADERS HAVE paid their respects to Cork native Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell who was found dead at 1pm local time (9pm Irish time) yesterday in Los Angeles.

The LA Times has reported that the bishop, aged 69, was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound at the scene in eastern Los Angeles.

Bishop O’Connell was born in Cork and moved to Los Angeles County where he was ordained as a priest in 1979.

He became an auxiliary bishop in 2015.

Archbishop of Los Angeles José H Gomez paid respects to Bishop O’Connell, affectionately known to his community as ‘Bishop Dave’.

“I am very sad this afternoon to report that our beloved Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell has passed away unexpectedly,” his statement read.

“It is a shock and I have no words to express my sadness.”

“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. 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.”

“He was also a good friend, and I will miss him greatly. I know we all will. Please join me in praying for Bishop Dave and for his family in Ireland.”

auxiliary-bishop-david-oconnell-right-from-the-san-gabriel-pastoral-region-is-revered-by-an-unidentified-pilgrim-left-after-a-special-mass-in-recognition-of-all-immigrants-at-the-los-angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell with a pilgrim after a special 'Mass in Recognition of All Immigrants'' at the Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in 2018. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Shocked parishioners gathered by the crime scene yesterday while police investigated, ABC 7 News reported.

One parishioner told the news channel that O’Connell “was an humble soul.”

“He was not the type that would have confrontations with nobody,” she said. “He was very loving, and he had like a gift of healing. When you would attend his ceremonies, it was like a gift of healing.”

Bishop Fintan Gavin of Bishop O’Connell’s native diocese of Cork and Ross has said that news of the shooting has “sent shockwaves” across the diocese.

“On behalf of the people, priests and religious of the Diocese of Cork and Ross, and on my own behalf, I wish to express my sympathies and prayerful support to the O’Connell family in Cork, to Archbishop José H Gomes and the people, priests and religious of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles,” the bishop’s statement read.

“Since his ordination in 1979 Bishop David has served as a priest in Los Angeles but has always maintained his connection with family and friends here in Cork where has been a regular visitor.”

“We pray that the Lord will console Bishop David’s many friends in Cork and throughout Ireland.  

“We will pray for Bishop David at Mass throughout the Diocese of Cork and Ross in the coming days asking the Lord to comfort his family, his colleagues and all the bereaved. 

“Bishop David worked tirelessly for peace and harmony in communities; may he now rest in the peace of the Lord.”

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