Thomas C. Kelly

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Thomas C. Kelly

Archbishop Emeritus of Louisville
AppointedDecember 28, 1981
InstalledFebruary 18, 1982
PredecessorThomas Joseph McDonough
SuccessorJoseph Edward Kurtz
OrdinationJune 5, 1958
ConsecrationAugust 15, 1977
by Joseph Bernardin
Personal details
Born(1931-07-14)July 14, 1931
Rochester, New York
DiedDecember 14, 2011(2011-12-14) (aged 80)
Previous postAuxiliary Bishop of Washington (1977–81)
Styles of
Thomas Kelly
Mitre plain 2.png
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop
Posthumous stylenone

Thomas Cajetan Kelly OP (July 14, 1931 – December 14, 2011) was an American Dominican and Archbishop of Louisville from 1982 until his retirement in 2007.


Born in 1931 in Rochester, New York, Archbishop Kelly attended Regis High School in New York City. He entered the Dominican Order in 1951 after two years of study at Providence College, Providence, Rhode Island.

Ordained to the priesthood in 1958, he subsequently earned a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. in 1959 and a Doctor of Canon Law from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome in 1962.[1]


In 1962, Kelly was appointed the secretary of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph, headquartered in New York City. During his time in New York he also worked for the tribunal of the Archdiocese of New York and the Legion of Decency. In 1965 Kelly was appointed the secretary and archivist for the Apostolic Nunciature to the United States in Washington, D.C. After serving at the Nunciature for seven years, he was appointed associate general secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1972. He was elected to a five year term as general secretary of the USCCB in March 1977.

In July 1977 Pope Paul VI named Kelly an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington. He was consecrated a bishop in August 1977 by then-Archbishop Joseph Bernardin at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. On December 21, 1981, Pope John Paul II appointed Kelly Archbishop of Louisville.[2][3] He served as Archbishop of Louisville until his retirement in 2007.

Later Life[edit]

Kelly died at the age of 80 on December 14, 2011, at Holy Trinity Church (where he had been residing since his retirement) in Louisville, Kentucky[4][5]


  1. ^ Knights of Columbus: Kentucky State Council. p. 95. Retrieved August 4, 2014.
  2. ^ Biography at Archdiocese of Louisville Archived 2007-09-03 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Archbishop Thomas Cajetan Kelly [Catholic-Hierarchy]".
  4. ^ "Funeral Arrangements for Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly | Archdiocese of Louisville". Archived from the original on 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  5. ^ Gabe Bullard. "Former Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly Dies". Archived from the original on 2012-05-13. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Thomas Joseph McDonough
Archbishop of Louisville
Succeeded by
Joseph Edward Kurtz