Bishop David O'Connell, a native of Co Cork was shot dead in his Los Angeles home in February, is being remembered in his local community with memorial services and a funeral this week.
Bishop O'Connell, 69, who was known as a beloved "peacemaker" in the local community, was murdered just before 1 pm on February 18 at his home in Hacienda Heights, California.
The series of services in honor of the Irish-born bishop began on Wednesday night, March 1, with a memorial mass at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Hacienda Heights.
During opening remarks at the service, Archbishop José H. Gomez read out a special message of condolence from Pope Francis.
The message, which was signed by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said the pope was "deeply saddened to learn of the untimely and tragic death of Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell."
"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."
On Thursday, March 2, a public viewing will take place at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels between 10 am and 6 pm and will be followed by a vigil mass, which will be live-streamed, at 7 pm.
Bishop O'Connell's funeral mass is scheduled to take place at the Cathedral at 11 am on Friday, March 3, and will also be live-streamed.
On Monday, February 20, Carlos Medina, the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper, was arrested after a standoff at his home in Torrance, California.
Medina, 65, was charged on Wednesday, February 22 with one count of murder and a special allegation that he personally used a firearm.
Announcing the charges, Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón said: “This was a brutal act of violence against a person who dedicated his life to making our neighborhoods safer, healthier, and always serving with love and compassion.
“As Catholics around Los Angeles and the nation start the holy season of Lent, let us reflect on Bishop O’Connell’s life of service and dedication to those in greatest need of our care.
"Charging Mr. Medina will never repair the tremendous harm that was caused by this callous act, but it does take us one step closer to accountability.”
The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
A native of Cork, Bishop O'Connell had been a priest and bishop in Los Angeles for 45 years and spent many years focusing on gang intervention.
He earned a reputation as a "peacemaker" and sought to broker peace between LA residents and law enforcement following the acquittal of four white police officers for the beating of Rodney King, a Black man, which caused the outbreak of riots.
Two decades later, Bishop O'Connell brought the San Gabriel Valley together to help rebuild a local church following an arson attack.
Bishop O'Connell also helped organize retreats for men, focusing on how to be good husbands and fathers, which he believed was key to the health of local communities.