Funeral, prayer services scheduled to honor slain L.A. bishop

Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell speaks during a service.
Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell in 2020. A prayer service Sunday for O’Connell will be followed by three days of services this week, ending in a funeral Mass on Friday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell, a beloved religious leader who was slain in his Hacienda Heights home last week, will be honored at a Sunday prayer service in Anaheim.

Archbishop José H. Gomez will preside over the Orange County service, which will take place at this year’s Religious Education Congress, an annual four-day gathering of Catholics sponsored by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The service will start at 11:30 a.m. at the Anaheim Convention Center and is open to everyone attending the gathering. Others can tune in to the service online.

O’Connell, 69, who served as a priest and bishop in L.A. County for nearly half a century, was found shot to death at his home in the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue on the afternoon of Feb. 18, authorities said.


In a statement after O’Connell’s death, Gomez called the bishop a “man of deep prayer” and “a peacemaker with a heart for the poor and the immigrant.”

Gómez said O’Connell 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.”

Carlos Medina, a handyman whose wife worked as O’Connell’s housekeeper, has been charged with his murder. Law enforcement officials have not yet disclosed a motive. Dist. Atty. George Gascón condemned O’Connell’s slaying as a “brutal act of violence against a person who dedicated his life to making our neighborhoods safer, healthier and always served with love.”

O’Connell earned the title of bishop in 2015, according to the archdiocese’s website.

O’Connell, who was born in 1953 in County Cork, Ireland, was named an auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese by Pope Francis in 2015. He studied for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin and was ordained to serve in the archdiocese in 1979.

For 14 years, O’Connell was pastor at St. Frances X. Cabrini in South Los Angeles, and became pastor of nearby Ascension. He oversaw not only two congregations of roughly 4,000 families each, but also two schools that between them serve about 500 pupils in kindergarten through eighth grade.


Memorial and funeral services are scheduled this week in Los Angeles.

On Wednesday,a memorial Mass will be held at St. John Vianney Catholic Church at 7 p.m.

On Thursday, there will be a public viewing at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 6 p.m. A Vigil Mass will be held at 7 p.m.

On Friday, a funeral Mass will be held at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

All events will be livestreamed on the website for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.