Pope Francis has appointed Dallas priest Monsignor John Gregory Kelly to become the newest auxiliary bishop of the Dallas Diocese.
Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas welcomed the appointment.
“I experience this new call to be an auxiliary bishop more than anything as a new grace from Christ and a new call to serve him, whom I love, and to whom I am especially grateful,” Bishop-elect Kelly said.
Bishop Kelly expressed his gratitude and asked the community for prayers “I am truly overwhelmed and shocked when I think about it. I am confident that God’s grace to do this job comes with this call but ask that you please pray for me. I am grateful to the Holy Father, whom I greatly admire, for this appointment and I look forward to serving the people of the Diocese of Dallas as a bishop and working with Bishop Farrell and Bishop Doug Des-hotel in this new capacity.”
Reflecting on the theme of the Church’s Year of Mercy, he looked to the example of the Pope. He said Pope Francis “constantly reminds us that the path to life on high in Christ Jesus passes through the periphery, passes through going out to other people, our brothers and sisters who are suffering and hurting.”
To these people, the monsignor said, “we are called to be signs and instruments of God’s mercy, having received that mercy ourselves.”
During a press conference celebrating the appointment, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell expressed complete joy, saying “I consider the fact that our Holy Father has appointed such an outstanding priest as Greg Kelly to serve as a bishop in our diocese to be an early Christmas gift from Pope Francis. Bishop Kelly is extremely well-respected by priests and parishioners alike. He has done an outstanding job as pastor and chaplain, and has been very helpful to me in his role as Vicar for Clergy.”
Monsignor John Gregory Kelly who has been a priest in the Dallas diocese for nearly 34 years was born in Le Mars, Iowa to Mr and Mrs John Kelly. He grew up in Colorado and came to North Texas in 1976 as a student at the University of Dallas. He was a seminarian at Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving from 1976-1982. He has a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and a master’s degree in theology from the University of Dallas and was ordained a priest of the Diocese of Dallas in May 1982.
He was the chaplain at the University of Dallas for 10 years before serving as Parish Priest at St. Gabriel the Archangel in McKinney.He has acted as the vicar for clergy for the diocese since 2008. Pope Benedict XVI named him Monsignor in 2013.
The Monsignor will become the diocese’s second assistant,joining Bishop J. Douglas Des-Hotel.This is because of the exponential growth in the Dallas Diocese. There are about 1.3 million Catholics today in the diocese which grew from 180,000 Catholics 30 years ago.
“I am truly overwhelmed and shocked when I think about it,” he added in a statement. “I am confident that God’s grace to do this job comes with this call but ask that you please pray for me.”
Monsignor Gregory Kelly will be ordained as bishop on February 11, 2016 at 2 p.m. at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas by Bishop Farrell.