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.
In the summer of 2020, an arson fire ravaged Father John Molyneux’s new parish. The historic Mission San Gabriel Arcángel was just a year away from the 250th anniversary of its founding. It was a moment of helplessness for parishioners who had invested so much spiritually in a building now rendered uninhabitable.
But if Molyneux saw his parish needed divine intervention at a time when COVID-19 was already causing tragic consequences, he can now recognize that it came in the form of Bishop David O’Connell’s presence.
“So many hearts were broken that day, and he was such a great comfort to all of us,” said Molyneux. “With Bishop Dave, it was like he was one-on-one praying with the people, meeting them amidst the rubble.”