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Pope Francis writes telegram for slain LA bishop’s funeral

Bishop David O'Connell of Los Angeles presides at Mass


John Burger - published on 03/02/23

Bishop David O'Connell will be laid to rest after funeral on Friday.

Pope Francis has sent a telegram to the Archbishop of Los Angeles, expressing his “deep sadness” about the death of Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell.

The telegram, signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and addressed to Archbishop José H. Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles, said the Pope was “deeply saddened to learn of the untimely and tragic death” of Bishop O’Connell, 69, who was found shot dead at his home on February 18. Police have arrested a suspect in the case, who has been charged with murder. 

“His Holiness Pope Francis sends heartfelt condolences and the assurance of his spiritual closeness to you, the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the archdiocese,” the telegram read. “He joins you in giving thanks for Bishop O’Connell’s years of devoted priestly and episcopal ministry to the Church in Los Angeles, marked especially by his profound concern for the poor, immigrants, and those in need, his efforts to uphold the sanctity and dignity of God’s gift of life and his zeal for fostering solidarity, cooperation, and peace within the local community.

“In commending the late bishop’s soul to the love and mercy of Christ the Good Shepherd, His Holiness prays that all who honor his memory will be confirmed in the resolve to reject the ways of violence and overcome evil with good (cf. Rom. 12:21),” the telegram continued.

“To those gathered for the Mass of Christian Burial and to all who mourn Bishop O’Connell’s loss in the sure hope of the Resurrection, the Holy Father cordially imparts his blessing as a pledge of peace and consolation in the Lord.”

Funeral rites

Bishop O’Connell will be laid to rest following a funeral at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Friday.

There is a public viewing today of Bishop O’Connell’s body from 10am to noon and 1pm to 6pm. At 7pm, Archbishop Gomez will preside at a Vigil Mass. Cardinal Roger Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, will deliver the homily. 

Archbishop Gomez also will preside at the funeral Mass on Friday at 11am, with a homily delivered by Msgr. Jarlath (Jay) Cunnane, pastor at St. Cornelius Church in Long Beach, California. Both Bishop O’Connell and Msgr. Cunnane were born in Ireland, and were close friends. 

The Vigil Mass and Funeral Mass will be livestreamed for the public on Bishop David G. Connell | LA Catholics and on the OLA Cathedral YouTube Channel

Bishop O’Connell, appointed auxiliary bishop in 2015, was known and appreciated for his accompaniment to communities struggling with gang violence, poverty, and drug trafficking.

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