|MESSAGE FROM MISSION ADVANCEMENT…proclaiming God’s goodness and compassionate love|
Beyond a doubt, we have all been shocked by the tragic passing of Bishop Dave O’Connell last week. The outpouring of grief that we have experienced–as individuals, communities and as shared by the news media–is an incredible testament to the man of faith, integrity and compassion that he was.
Sr. Betty Mae Bienlein fondly remembers Bishop Dave as the retreat director when her class completed training for Merciful Companions. Sr. Betty is shown with the bishop. This is a ministry of lay women and men who journey with those healing from the effects of abortion, especially the depression and trauma which require emotional and spiritual healing. During that retreat and celebration of the Eucharist, Bishop Dave exemplified the warmth, understanding and compassion needed in this ministry.
Sr. Leanne Hubbard, as Director of Field Education at St. John’s Seminary, shared these reflections. “Fr. Dave, before he was a bishop, was pastor at St. Michael’s in downtown Los Angeles, and in that capacity, he was an excellent mentor for seminarians during their ten-month parish internship. He modeled absolute commitment to those on the margins, particularly immigrants, but anyone who was struggling to make a living. Personally, other than this absolute commitment to stand by those with the least voice and fewest resources, I was the most impressed with his personal story of conversion to the person of Jesus Christ which he shared with the seminarians, and I am sure all who would listen. When I think of the ‘new evangelization,’ I think of Dave’s ability to convey that personal, saving grace of salvation, of complete reorientation to the person of Jesus. When he talked about Jesus, he was so real, so tangible, so present. Dave was consistently that tangible warmth of his Beloved–cheeky, playful, compassionate, and challenging.”
Fr. Jay Cunanne, Bishop Dave’s dear friend since their seminary days in Ireland, has often been quoted in the past 10 days. His sermon to the parishioners of St. Cornelius Parish in Long Beach on Feb. 19 is quite powerful. I want to share it with you because Fr. Jay was also a dear colleague and friend of our Sr. Emilie Ann Palladino. In fact, he celebrated her Mass of Christian Burial in 2018. Please follow this link and find inspiration in the graces of friendship!
It is not often that we are so touched by a saint in our midst. We can only be grateful for Bishop Dave O’Connell’s life, a life poured out proclaiming God’s goodness and compassionate love.
Grateful blessings, today and always,
Sr. Lisa Megaffin, S.N.D.
Director of Mission Advancement Services