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Conference Mourns Death of Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, O.P.14 Dec

Archbishop Kelly

Funeral Arrangements for Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly

Sunday, December 18
7:30 p.m. Rite of Reception of the Body, Cathedral of the Assumption
8:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.: Public Visitation

Monday, December 19
11 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Public Visitation at Cathedral of the Assumption
7:00 p.m. Vigil Service

Tuesday, December 20
11:00-1:30 p.m.: Public Visitation at the Cathedral of the Assumption
2:00 p.m. Funeral Mass

The Catholic Conference of Kentucky mourns the death of Archbishop Emeritus Thomas C. Kelly. Archbishop Kelly chaired the Catholic Conference from 1982 – 2007 when he retired. Under his leadership, the Conference saw significant legislative accomplishments that upheld the dignity and value of human life. For more information click here.

Reached by phone, former executive director Jane Chiles said, “He was a true servant leader. He never asked of anyone that which he would not be willing to do himself. He also had a keen sense of humor. His dry wit will remain with me forever.”

Catholic News Service has published a story by The Record editor, Glenn Rutherford, which highlights aspects of Archbishop Kelly’s life. Rutherford writes:

At the time of his installation as archbishop of Louisville, Archbishop Kelly told about 5,000 people who were gathered that February day in 1982 that “I am to be the servant of your faith.”

In his homily at the installation Mass, he told his church that he was thinking “of the unborn and the incessant destruction of human life.”

“Too many members of the human family … are subject to conditions that are offensive to their life, to their dignity and to the aspirations that are rightfully theirs,” he said in his homily.

Respect for life “embraces many issues,” he said in a 1999 article in The Record. “Poverty, malnutrition, hunger, war, sexual exploitation, the arms trade, abortion, racism, unchecked individualism and materialism, capital punishment and euthanasia all contribute to a ‘throw-away’ society and to tremendous suffering.”

In the December 15 edition of the Courier-Journal the Archbishop is described as a humble man who had a special concern for persons treated unjustly. “’He was always an advocate for the poor,’ said the Rev. William Hammer, pastor of the Basilica of St. Joseph in Bardstown and president of the archdiocese’s Priests’ Council.”

Archbishop Kelly had many friends, including Bishop Robert Lynch who has written:

It was horrible news for me for there have been few figures as prominent in my journey to priesthood and its subsequent ups and downs as +Tom Kelly. He was present at my ordination to the priesthood and all smiles at my ordination as a bishop, soon sixteen years ago. Always a phone call away, my day was often brightened when I would pick up the phone and hear, “Kelly here!”

To read more of Bishop Lynch’s tribute, click here.

Photo:  The Record

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