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“Peacemaker” Bishop, David O’Connell, Buried in Los Angeles

The funeral Mass of Prominent Roman Catholic Bishop, David O’Connell, who was murdered in February took place in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles on Friday.

69 years old O’Connell, fondly called “Peacemaker” met his death on 18 February when he was shot in his home. Members of the Parish had formed a long queue at the Cathedral on Thursday during a daylight public viewing before a vigil Mass held at night. The Catholic Bishop was honoured because he was well known as a “good friend” to Los Angeles.

Bishops and Cardinals from far and near had trooped into the Church on Friday to honour the funeral Mass of David O’Connell. 

In a report by Religion News Service, a lot of people present at the Mass had a thing or two to say about the bishop. Monsignor Jarlath Cunnane, one of his closest friends, talked about their 50 years of friendship while he described O’Connell as a friend of Jesus and the Poor. He said: “I’d look at the two of them, him and the dog so at peace, sometimes I fancied the dog had learned the rosary,” Cunnane jokes. 

He said that he and O’Connell were “caminantes juntos,” or “wayfarers together.” “He wasn’t just my good friend. Friendship was something he was good at. He was friends with young and old, far and wide, with people in Peru, in South Africa, in Ireland. He was friends up and down the social scale, at ease in the corridors of power and with the powerless, at ease with the movers and the shakers, and also with the moved and the shaken,” Cunnane said.

“You’re blessed if you have a soul friend, and I was blessed to have had David,” he further said.

His tribute to O’Connell drove a lot of parishioners to tears as he concluded with an excerpt from the speech of Tom Joad in  John Steinbeck’s “Grapes of Wrath.”

“Wherever a stranger, immigrant is to be welcomed, I’ll be there … wherever there’s a last soul given God’s love, I’ll be there,” concluded Cunnane.

O’Connell’s nephew also talked about his “Uncle Dave” who always makes jokes and also spends quality time with friends and family. He said: “He never had a problem making time for people,” he said.

He said the bishop always took interest in his family’s milestones and that “all he wanted to do was make things easier for everyone else.” “He never ended a phone call without telling me how proud he was of me, and I hope that he knows that we are all so proud of him,” the bishop’s nephew said. “We now all have the opportunity to pick up where he left off and to carry the example that he set,” he added. “Help those that you can help … be considerate and give others the benefit of the doubt.” 

José Gómez, Los Angeles Archbishop, finally addressed  parishioners and O’Connell’s family, saying that even though the bishop will be missed “in an extraordinary way in our lives and in the life of the church … we know that he’s in heaven.”

“From there, he’s going to continue to intercede for us as he has done his whole life,” Gómez said.

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