“With the death of Archbishop Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P., the local church of Louisville has lost a friend, humble servant and dedicated man of God. Archbishop Kelly served for more than a quarter century as the Archbishop of Louisville and remained active as Archbishop Emeritus for almost five years. Throughout his ministry, he has consistently shown his wit and intellect to all who knew him, but most especially and most deeply, his humility and compassion for all. I am personally grateful for his friendship and welcome of me as his successor. In his 80 years of life, he has been thoroughly a priest of Jesus Christ, as a faithful Dominican, as a diplomat and administrator at the Nunciature and United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, as Metropolitan of the Province of Louisville, as a true Archbishop, and in these last days as a faithful parish priest.”
Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D
Archbishop of Louisville
“Archbishop Kelly brought the graces of holiness, humor and humility to his ministry in the church, including at the U.S. Bishops’ Conference in Washington where he served faithfully as General Secretary. His broad vision made him comfortable in the world of ecumenical and inter-faith relations at the same time that his acute awareness of the people in front of him made him a sensitive pastoral leader and a mentor of conference staff. He was a wonderful homilist who could convey the deepest theological truths in an accessible manner to everyone in the congregation. His presence was a blessing to all who met him.”
Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
Pres. of the United States Conference of
Msgr. Ronny E. Jenkins
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
“Archbishop Thomas Kelly was a true Churchman. He had a keen interest in all matters pertaining to the Church and to its mission and spent himself in its service. As my Metropolitan Archbishop and the principal celebrant at my consecration as a bishop I always felt a special paternal and fraternal bond with him. He will surely be missed.”
Most Reverend Roger Joseph Foys, D.D.
Bishop of Covington
“I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Archbishop Kelly. He was a dear friend and fellow Bishop for many, many years. He served the Church unselfishly in positions of great responsibility. He did so with great unselfishness and love for the Church and its people. I pray that his life will continue to be an inspiration to many people for many more years. May God rest his soul.”
Most Reverend William Anthony Hughes, D.D.
Retired Bishop of Covington
“Archbishop Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P., was a proud son of St. Dominic. With his passing, we have lost a faithful shepherd who preached the Word of God eloquently and served the faithful with a great sense of compassion. Archbishop Kelly’s humor, joyful expressions and his remarkable ability to share practical and fruitful stories will never be forgotten.”
Most Reverend Richard F. Stika, D.D.
Bishop of Knoxville
“The death of Archbishop Kelly gives us cause to ponder how he touched our lives. Personally, I feel the loss on a number of levels. He ordained me as a deacon and priest, and served as one of the co-consecrators at my episcopal ordination. I served with him as judicial vicar and on various committees. He was a wonderful mentor to me in so many ways.
The greatest impact on me, however, was during our time together at Holy Trinity Parish. Following his retirement as Archbishop of Louisville, Archbishop Kelly came to live at the parish. At the beginning he expressed some concerns: “Chuck, I don’t know how this is going to work. I have lived either alone or in community. This is the first time that I have lived one-on-one with another person.” I cannot speak for him, but our time together was an incredible blessing for me. He became more than my Archbishop and mentor, although these roles never waned, and became a dear friend. I feel quite blessed to have shared these last years with him.
The final blessing of his life for me came as recently as the weekend before his death. In October, Archbishop Kelly made the comment that he would like to see my new home in Evansville. We agreed that he would visit on Friday, December 9, and Martine Siegel, the Pastoral Associate at Holy Trinity, drive him to my house. I had contacted Bishop Medley of Owensboro and invited him to join us for dinner. We had a wonderful evening. Archbishop Kelly spent the night in Evansville, and we had breakfast on Saturday morning, December 10, before his return to Louisville. We embraced one last time before he left. What a gift!
Finally, I would like to share a thought that Archbishop Kelly often expressed when we ministered together at Holy Trinity: “I’m ready whenever God wants to take me. I want to see the face of God.” While I share the grief and pain of his death with so many, I rejoice for him. I will miss his face, but I take consolation in the realization of his hope to see the face of God. He loved and served the Church with all his heart, mind, and soul.”
Most Reverend Charles C. Thompson, D.D.
Bishop of Evansville
“My first meeting with Archbishop Kelly just after my appointment to Lexington was announced set the tone for our fraternal relationship. He was the epitome of graciousness, kindness and gentleness. His wisdom gained through such wide ecclesial experience will be greatly missed. He took great delight in his priests and in gathering the bishops of the province, radiating interest and support for our lives and ministries. I join the Archdiocese in praying for the repose of his soul and in thanking God for the gift of his life and generous ministry.”
Most Reverend Ronald W. Gainer, D.D.
Bishop of Lexington