With a Moto Proprio, Pope Francis announced on Wednesday the establishment of a Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life. The Prefect of the new Dicastery will be the Irish-born Bishop Kevin Joseph Farrell, currently serving as Bishop of Dallas.
In his Apostolic Letter the Pope wrote that the new Dicastery will be “governed by special Statues” and all the responsibilities and functions held by the current Pontifical Councils for the Laity and for the Family will be transferred to the new Dicastery from September 1st. After that date the two Councils in question will cease to exist.
As a loving Mother, the Pope wrote, the Church has always throughout the centuries shown her concern for the laity, the family and life, by witnessing our Lord’s merciful love for humanity and we want to ensure that “the riches of Jesus Christ are poured out appropriately and with profusion among the faithful.”
For this reason, we are taking prompt moves so that “the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia can respond to the situation of our times and adapt to the needs of the universal Church. In particular, 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.”
Statement by Bishop Farrell on his appointment as Prefect of the new Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life
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.
Sources: News.va, BishopKevinFarrell.org