Pope Francis has named Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas to head the Vatican’s newly created Dicastery (department) for Laity, the Family and Life. The creation of this dicastery is particularly significant at this time ahead of the next gathering for the World Meeting of Families which will take place in Dublin in August 2018.
Bishop Farrell was born in Dublin in 1947, and was raised speaking Irish, studying under the Christian Brothers in Drimnagh. He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome in 1978. He served as chaplain to the University of Monterrey in Mexico, where he also conducted seminars in bioethics and social ethics, and also as General Administrator of the Legion of Christ with responsibilities for seminaries and schools in Italy, Spain, and Ireland. In 2001, Pope Saint John Paul II appointed Bishop Farrell as an Auxiliary Bishop of the Washington Archdiocese with the titular see of Rusuccuru. Bishop Farrell has served as Bishop of Dallas since 2007. His older brother, Bishop Brian Farrell, currently serves as Secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Following his appointment, Bishop Farrell said, “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” (See bishopkevinfarrell.org for the full statement).
Pope Francis created the new office by combining the pontifical councils for the laity and for the family. Statutes for the new office, published in June, said it was being established “for the promotion of the life and apostolate of the lay faithful, for the pastoral care of the family and its mission according to God’s plan and for the protection and support of human life.”