An exhibit honoring the life and legacy of slain Archdiocese of Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell is now open at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Downtown Los Angeles.
The 69-year-old “Bishop Dave”—whom Archbishop José H. Gomez described as “a peacemaker with a heart for the poor and the immigrant”—was found shot at his Hacienda Heights home Feb. 18, and the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper has been charged with murder.
The chapel features an exhibit of photos of O’Connell’s family and ministry, an assortment of his liturgical vestments such as his chasuble, miter and pectoral cross, as well as personal items such as handwritten notes, his Bible and rosary, books of jokes he consulted and a wooden plaque from his office with his episcopal motto “Jesus, I trust in you.”
Gomez invited the public to visit the exhibit and celebrate the life of O’Connell, “which was truly a life lived for Jesus.”
Vice-Chancellor Archdiocese Father Parker Sandoval, who is in charge of the chapel, said the exhibit “not only honors the life and ministry of Bishop Dave, but above all, inspires us to follow his example of joyful witness to Jesus Christ.”
O’Connell was a native of Ireland and had been a priest and later a bishop in Los Angeles for 45 years.
His body was discovered when a deacon went to O’Connell’s home to check on him, because O’Connell was apparently late for a meeting, Sheriff Robert Luna said.
Carlos Medina, 61, was arrested around 8:15 a.m. Feb. 20 following an hours long standoff at his home in the 2400 block of Kenwood Avenue in Torrance.
Luna said two firearms were recovered at Medina’s home.
Medina is the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper, and also performed handyman work at the bishop’s home, authorities said. He has been charged with murder, and District Attorney George Gascón said Medina confessed to the crime, although a motive remains unknown.
The murder charge includes an allegation of the personal use of a firearm, meaning he faces up to 35 years to life in state prison if he is convicted as charged.
At the time of his death, O’Connell was vicar for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ San Gabriel Pastoral Region, a post he had since 2015, when Pope Francis appointed him as an auxiliary bishop for the Los Angeles Archdiocese.
O’Connell had previously served as associate pastor at St. Raymond Catholic Church in Downey, St. Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Long Beach, and St. Hilary Church of Perpetual Adoration in Pico Rivera and then as pastor of St. Frances X. Cabrini, Ascension, St. Eugene and St. Michael’s parishes, all in Los Angeles.