RIP: Former Los Angeles Bishop Joseph Jon Bruno dies at 74

Posted Apr 27, 2021

The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno. Photo: Diocese of Los Angeles

[Diocese of Los Angeles] The Rt. Rev. J. Jon Bruno, former bishop of the Diocese of Los Angeles, died suddenly of natural causes at his home in La Quinta, California, on April 23.

In making the announcement together with the other members of the Bruno family, his wife, Mary A. Bruno, released the following statement:

“Our family and the many others who knew and loved Jon have been blessed with his magnificent life. We are gladdened to know that he has been greeted by St. Peter and is in the loving hands of God. We ask that our family is included in your prayers and our privacy respected in this time of grief.”

Bruno is survived by Mary, his wife of 35 years; his daughter, Jonelle; his son, Philip, and his wife, Mary; stepson Brent Woodrich and his wife, Andrea; nine grandchildren and countless friends.

Services and other arrangements are pending. More information, including a full obituary in the diocese’s Episcopal News, is here.

Bruno was known for his commitment to multicultural and polylingual ministry, his advocacy for inclusion and equity for all people regardless of orientation and identification and the visionary Seeds of Hope ministry he co-founded, which has helped bear tens of thousands of people through the pandemic with its food and education programs. He chose for his episcopate the theme “Hands in Healing” as a means of inspiring others to mend effects of violence, discrimination, and loss.

Bruno was born Nov. 17, 1946, in Los Angeles and grew up in the Echo Park and Maravilla sections of the city. He graduated from East L.A.’s Garfield High School, Cal State L.A., and the Virginia Theological Seminary, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 2001. He held a certificate in criminology from Cal State Long Beach and served as a police officer in Burbank, California. Raised a Roman Catholic, he entered The Episcopal Church through the parish of Epiphany, Lincoln Heights, during his youth.

He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Robert C. Rusack in the Diocese of Los Angeles in 1978, and served churches in Thousand Oaks, California, and Oregon before beginning ministry as rector of St. Athanasius Church in Echo Park in 1986. There he conceived of the idea to build, on that site, the Cathedral Center of St. Paul and was installed as its first provost in 1994 by Bishop Frederick H. Borsch, whom he succeeded in 2002 as sixth bishop of Los Angeles, having been elected bishop coadjutor in 1999.