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The late Bishop David O'Connell, who was killed last month in his home on Los Angeles. Alamy Stock Photo
Los Angeles

Family pays tribute to Cork native Bishop David O'Connell as funeral takes place in LA

Bishop David O’Connell was fatally shot on 18 February in the bedroom of his Los Angeles home.

LAST UPDATE | Mar 3rd 2023, 9:34 PM

THE FUNERAL MASS of Cork native Bishop David O’Connell, who was shot dead in Los Angeles last month, has taken place. 

Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell, 69, was fatally shot on 18 February in the bedroom of his home in Hacienda Heights, about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

Last week, police in LA arrested 61-year-old Carlos Medina in connection with the Bishop’s death.

The late Bishop was ordained to serve in the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 1979, where for many years he focused on gang intervention, according local diocesan news platform. 

candles-and-messages-are-left-near-bishop-david-oconnells-residence-in-hacienda-heights-calif-sunday-feb-19-2023-oconnell-was-shot-and-killed-saturday-just-blocks-from-a-church-a-slaying-of Candles and messages are left near Bishop David O'Connell's residence in LA. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

His funeral mass took place at 11am (7pm Irish time) in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels in Los Angeles.

Speaking at the mass, Bishop O’Connell’s nephew David O’Connell paid tribute to his uncle. 

“Uncle Dave was an inspiration for us throughout our whole lives, and he will remain to be so,” David O’Connell said. 

“He taught us that if you have the capacity to help someone, you should do it,” he said. 

David O’Connell said his uncle “never asked for a single thing in return”. 

“He was involved in all the milestones in the lives of myself and my siblings and my cousins. He always took such a great interest in us. For me and my siblings, every exam we took, every interview we had, any tough times that we were going through, he would be on the phone telling us how he was praying for us and wishing us luck,” O’Connell said. 

“He never ended a phone call without telling me how proud he was of me. I hope that he knows that we are all so proud of him.”  

Pope Francis, who appointed O’Connell as Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles in 2015, earlier passed on his condolences in a telegram to the Archbishop of Los Angeles, José H. Gómez.

The message was read aloud by Archbishop at a memorial mass for Bishop O’Connell on Wednesday.

In it, Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened to learn of the untimely and tragic death” of Bishop O’Connell.

The Pope’s telegram also expressed gratitude for Bishop O’Connell’s “years of devoted priestly ministry to the Church in Los Angeles, marked especially by his profound concern for the poor, immigrants and those in need”.

“His Holiness prays that all who honour his memory will be confirmed in the resolve to reject the ways of violence and overcome evil with good,” added the telegram that was sent on behalf of Pope Francis by the Vatican Secretary of State.

The White House also this week expressed its condolences on behalf of president Joe Biden.

one-of-many-bouquets-of-flowers-some-with-note-rests-in-a-makeshift-memorial-for-bishop-david-oconnell-tuesday-feb-21-2023-in-front-of-the-bishops-home-in-hacienda-heights-calif-an-unincorp One of many bouquets of flowers, some with note rests in a makeshift memorial for Bishop David O'Connell, Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

On Wednesday, Biden’s press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a press briefing: “The President and the First Lady (Jill Biden) join Archbishop Gomez, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and the entire Catholic community in the mourning of Bishop David O’Connell.

“We also express our sympathy and prayers for the family and friends of the Bishop, who will certainly remember his legacy of service to those on the margins of society.”

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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