A bishop serving in the United States has been named to lead the new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.
In a statement released by the Holy See Press Office at noon, the Vatican announced that the newly established Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life will be led by Bishop Kevin Joseph Farrell of Dallas, with the role of prefect.
Bishop Farrell is a native of Ireland who began his priestly life in the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ. In 1984, he was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. In 2001, he was named an auxiliary bishop of that archdiocese, and then in 2007, named the bishop of Dallas. His older brother, Bishop Brian Farrell, is a Legionary priest and has been working at the Vatican already for many years, having been named in 2002 the secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.
The Pope announced in early June that he would be establishing this new dicastery for laity, family and life. Working under Bishop Farrell, the three under-secretaries for each of the sections are to be laypeople.
As of September 1st all responsibilities and functions held by the current Pontifical Councils for the Laity and for the Family will be transferred to the new dicastery, and these two councils will cease to exist.
In today’s statement, the Pope also stressed that the Church is a loving mother, and noted how moves are being made so “dicasteries of the Roman Curia can respond to the situation of our times and adapt to the needs of the universal Church.”
“In particular,” he continued, “our thoughts are turned towards the laity, the family and life, to whom we wish to offer our support and help so that they are active witnesses of the Gospel in our times and as a sign of the goodness of the Lord.”
Bishop Farrell responded with a statement, which is below:
I am extremely humbled that our Holy Father Pope Francis has selected me to lead this newly formed dicastery. I look forward to being part of the important work of the universal Church in the promotion of the laity and the apostolate of the laity and for the pastoral care of the family in accordance with the Pope’s recent apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, the Joy of Love, and the support of human life.
While I am grateful for the Holy Father’s confidence in me, I meet this news with mixed emotions.
Dallas has been my home for 10 years and, from the beginning, I quickly grew to love the beautiful people and culture here. The strong faith, kindness and generosity of the people in the Diocese of Dallas surpassed all of my expectations. My brother priests were among the first to welcome me and I am extremely grateful for their collaboration, friendship, wise counsel and prayers. A bishop can get nothing of significance done in a diocese without the hard work and cooperation of the pastors, priests, diocesan staff and people. Together, I believe we have accomplished many goals, and put others in motion, that will continue to build up the Catholic Church in North Texas.
I cannot express enough my gratitude for all that the priests, staff and people have done and continue to do for me and the Diocese of Dallas. I know our Holy Father is working, as we speak, to find the right man to serve as the new chief shepherd. I am confident that, upon my departure, Bishop Greg Kelly will handle the needs of the diocese in the interim. Please pray for him. I also ask that you please pray for me as I begin this next unexpected chapter of my priesthood. May God continue to bless the Diocese of Dallas.
Originally published on BishopKevinFarrell.org