This story is part of a series featured in a commemorative issue honoring Bishop David O’Connell. Read more stories at the Bishop Dave Commemorative Issue web page.
Father David O’Connell first arrived in Southern California as a newly ordained priest from Ireland in the summer of 1979. He was looking forward, like many newcomers to the region, to visiting Hollywood. But he wasn’t sure how to get there.
So, one day while in South LA, he approached a woman and politely declared, “I’m new to the area. Is Hollywood close by?”
The woman looked at him, smiled and said, “No, honey, you’re in Watts. We’re a long way from Hollywood.”
It was ironic, then, that O’Connell went on to find unparalleled joy as a priest serving the people and parishes of South Los Angeles, a world apart from the glamor of Hollywood.