Remembering Bishop David O’Connell

In Memoriam
Bishop David O’Connell
1953 – 2023

Bishop David O’Connell, a native of Ireland with a heart for marginalized people and humanity’s needs, was murdered on February 18, 2023 in his home in a Los Angeles suburb. He lived his life authentically as an initiated man, one of the few bishops in the Catholic Church who knew Richard Rohr’s men’s work firsthand by participating in the Men’s Rites of Passage in 2005. Father Richard was the weaver for his MROP in Southern California.

Bishop Dave was a tireless champion of service to at-risk youth, gang members, migrants, and inmates. He served the bulk of his ministry in South L.A., primarily among Black and Latino communities. He conducted retreats, often in Spanish, for husbands and fathers to become men of peace, breaking the stereotypes and expectations that culture has sometimes imposed on men. He had an extraordinary ability to make everyone feel like his friend.  

Please join in our grief with Giovanni Perez (MROP 2005); Jim Clarke (MROP 1995); Bob Juarez (MROP 1996), with whom he was a colleague; Jim Heaney (MROP 1997), who was a close personal friend of the bishop; and all the people of all walks of life in Southern California who were touched by this beloved son of God. 

Join us in prayer and good thoughts for him and all those he leaves behind.

Bishop Dave making a visit to the US-Mexico border with Caritas and Catholic Relief Services (CRS). Sergio Lopez (MROP 2018), who is a CRS operative, is second from left in the photo, and Bishop Dave is at the end on the right.