For nine years, the Most Reverend Kevin Farrell has served as the bishop of the Dallas diocese.
On Sept. 1, 2016, his tenure came to an end as Pope Francis appointed him prefect of the new Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life.
Bishop Farrell was born on Sept. 2, 1947, in Dublin, Ireland, and he was 31 years old when he was ordained a priest in Rome, Italy.
Farrell was sent to serve as a diocesan priest in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
As a priest in D.C., Bishop Farrell served as the pastor of the Church of the Annunciation.
He also held various other positions, such as the director of the Spanish Catholic Center and the interim director of Catholic Charities.
Pope John Paul II named Farrell a prelate of honor in 1995.
On Feb. 11, 2002, Bishop Farrell became an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.
On March 6, 2007, Farrell was appointed the seventh bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas.
He was installed on May 1, at the Cathedral Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas.
Aside from being the bishop of a diocese with over one million Catholics across 80 parishes, Farrell maintained many other responsibilities.
He served as the chancellor to the University of Dallas. As the chancellor, he was an ex officio member of the Board of Trustees.
The position of chancellor is now vacant, as it can be filled only by the bishop of the diocese.
“We’re still waiting on the details of Bishop Farrell’s new position,” Dr. Theodore Whapham, the dean of the Neuhoff School of Ministry, said. “Now Bishop Farrell is the highest ranking Prelate in the United States.”
Until the Holy Father names a new bishop to the Diocese of Dallas, auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly will be serving as the interim Bishop.
“Not only is [Bishop Kelly] a graduate from here as an undergraduate and with his master of divinity degree, he also served as the rector for a number of years, and he lives at Holy Trinity Seminary,” Dr. Whapham said.
Now the diocese of Dallas is in a waiting period, while Pope Francis makes a decision.
“It’s our understanding that somebody will be named quickly.” Dr. Whapham said. “There are a number of folks that think it will happen as soon as January, but these positions can be open for a year or two.”
Under interim Bishop Kelly, ordinary diocesan operations will proceed as normal.
However, until a new bishop is named, major pastoral undertakings will not be started.
With his departure, Bishop Farrell has left very large shoes to fill.
The Diocese of Dallas is one of the largest in the United States, both in terms of population and geography.
It reaches as far south as Corsicana and reflects a very diverse population.
“The job of any bishop really requires someone who is a faithful servant of the Church, who has a deep and profound spirituality, who is a good administrator and who is able to balance an attention between things that go on in the diocese and roles and positions they have to play as representatives of the diocese to the larger Church,” Dr. Whapham said.
“The Catholic population in the Diocese of Dallas has grown tremendously.” Dr. Whapham said. “The new bishop will need to continue to find ways to expand the existing infrastructure to meet the needs of the growing Catholic population.”
On his website, Bishop Farrell asked for the members of the diocese to continue to pray for him.