Special mass in Cork to celebrate murdered Irish Bishop of Los Angeles

David O’Connell will be remembered at Sacred Heart Church in Glounthaune, where he celebrated his first mass as a priest

A special mass is due to be celebrated in Cork this evening for murdered Irish-born Bishop of Los Angeles David O’Connell, who was found dead in February having suffered a gunshot wound to the chest at his home about thirty kilometres east of downtown LA.

Bishop O’Connell, who was ordained in All Hallows in Dublin in 1979, was found dead on February 18th by a church deacon who went to his home in Hacienda Heights after he failed to turn up for a meeting.

Bishop Fintan Gavin, of the Diocese of Cork and Ross, will be the chief celebrant at a mass of remembrance for the 69 year old Bishop at 7.30pm today at Sacred Heart Church in Glounthaune, Co Cork.

Bishop O’Connell celebrated his first mass as a priest in the church in the summer of 1979.


Bishop Gavin said that Bishop O’Connell had always maintained strong contacts with his family, friends and the wider community in Cork. This was in spite of the fact that he served as a priest in LA from shortly after his ordination.

He stated that Bishop O’Connell had “worked tirelessly for peace and harmony” in the communities where he served.

“Bishop Dave” as he was affectionately known was much admired for his peacemaking efforts during the 1992 riots in LA following the acquittal of four white policemen on all but one charge connected with the severe beating of African American Rodney King.

The late Bishop, who was a native of Glanmire, Co Cork was also an advocate for immigrants. In newspaper interviews he stated that it was his mission to work with the disadvantaged poor in the wealthiest region of the US.

The service in Cork follows a three-day remembrance in Los Angeles last month which culminated in a requiem mass on March 3rd at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles. Following the funeral mass the remains of the late Bishop were interred in a crypt in the Cathedral.

Pope Francis appointed David O’Connell Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles in June of 2015. His violent death caused shock waves, with Los Angeles Archbishop, Jose H Gomez, describing him as a person who showed “compassion to the poor, to the homeless, immigrants and to all those living on society’s margins.

In the wake of the murder Pope Francis sent a message of condolence to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He said the ministry of Bishop O’Connell was marked by his “profound concern for the marginalised”.

He asked all those who honoured the memory of Bishop O’Connell to “reject the ways of violence” and to “overcome good with evil.”

There is no known motive for the murder. Earlier this week Carlos Medina (61) of Torrance in LA County pleaded not guilty to one felony count of murder. He was arraigned at Foltz Criminal Justice Centre in downtown LA.

He is due before the court again in May.

Bishop O’Connell is survived by his brother Kieran, his sister in law Paula and his nieces and nephews. He was a frequent visitor to Ireland and his family also travelled Stateside on numerous occasions.