+ Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, O.P., Dies

December 14, 2011

Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, O.P., leader of the Archdiocese of Louisville from 1982 to his retirement in 2007, died this morning at home. He was 80 years old. Born in 1931 in Rochester, New York, Archbishop Kelly entered the Dominican order in 1951 after studying for two years at Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island. He pursued philosophical studies at St. Rose Priory, Springfield, Kentucky, and St. Joseph’s Priory, Somerset, Ohio. Ordained a priest in 1958, Kelly received a Licentiate in Theology degree from the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., in 1959 and a doctorate in canon law from the University of St. Thomas in Rome in 1962. He also studied at the University of Vienna and at Cambridge University. Archbishop Kelly began his ministry in New York City in 1962 as secretary in the Dominican provincial office of St. Joseph Province. Archbishop Kelly moved to Washington in 1965 as a secretary and archivist for the Apostolic Delegation. Pope John Paul II appointed Archbishop Kelly to the Archdiocese of Louisville in December 1981, and he was installed as Archbishop in February of 1982. He also was involved in the planning for the first two papal visits to the United States. In 2007, Archbishop Kelly celebrated 25 years as Archbishop of Louisville, 30 years as a bishop, and 55 years as a Dominican. In his retirement, he lived at Holy Trinity Parish in Louisville, Kentucky. Archbishop Kelly was the third Archbishop and first member of the Dominican order to head the Archdiocese of Louisville. He succeeded Archbishops Thomas J. McDonough, 1967-1981, and John A. Floersh, 1937-1967. Eternal rest grant unto your servant, Thomas Cajetan, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

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