The news came like a shot in the dark. Unexpected. Frightening. Bishop David O’Connell had been murdered in his home on Feb. 18. I and countless others who knew him began a difficult process of mourning for a good and holy man, a man who had been the face of Jesus to so many.
Lent came early for us all.
“Bishop Dave” was a dear friend to many people from all walks of life. We had met at an event years earlier, two Irish emigrants who loved the United States, a decent cup of tea, and long walks outside. We were two people drawn together by the hand of God.
His hearty laugh, mystical soul, and profound love for Jesus and the Blessed Mother became a constant source of strength and peace for me throughout the years. We often called each other when we were out walking — he in balmy California, me bundled up in the frozen tundra of Northeast Wisconsin.