The Archdiocese of Louisville announced today Wednesday December 14th, 2011, that Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, O.P. has died. He was 80 years old. He died at his home in retirement, Holy Trinity parish in Louisville, Ky (USA).
Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P., (1931-2011) was born in 1931 in Rochester, New York, Archbishop Kelly 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 in Theology from the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., in 1959 and a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Athenaeum Angelicum in Rome in 1962.
Before his episcopal ministry, Archbishop Kelly served in key administrative positions within the Catholic Church in the United States. In 1962 he was assigned as secretary in the Dominican provincial offices in New York City; he also worked with the National Legion of Decency and the tribunal for the Archdiocese of New York. In 1971 Kelly joined the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference as associate general secretary. Kelly moved to Washington in 1965 as a secretary and archivist for the Apostolic Delegation, a position he held until joining the NCCB/USCC. He was elected in March 1977 to a five-year term as NCCB/USCC chief administrative officer and general secretary.
In July 1977, Pope Paul VI named him auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C., and titular bishop of Tusuro. He was consecrated a bishop two months later by 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. On June 12, 2007, Archbishop Kelly's retirement was accepted by Pope Benedict XVI in accord with canon 401 of the Code of Canon Law. Pope Benedict simultaneously appointed Bishop Joseph Kurtz of Knoxville, as Archbishop Kelly's successor. Archbishop Kelly was the tenth Bishop and third Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville. He succeeded Archbishop Thomas J. McDonough (1967–1981).