Washington — Pope Francis has named Msgr. Gregory Kelly, a priest of the Diocese of Dallas and vicar for clergy, to be an auxiliary bishop of the diocese.
The appointment was announced Dec. 16 in Washington by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, apostolic nuncio to the U.S.
A native of Iowa, Bishop-designate Kelly, 59, was ordained a priest of the Dallas Diocese May 5, 1982. He has been vicar for clergy since 2008. Pope Benedict XVI named him a monsignor in 2013.
Dallas Bishop Kevin J. Farrell will ordain him a bishop Feb. 11 at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas.
Bishops from throughout Texas and the Southwest along with hundreds of priests, deacons, nuns, religious brothers and consecrated men and women from the Dallas Diocese of Dallas will be invited to join the new bishop's family, friends and former parishioners at the Mass.
"I consider the fact that our Holy Father has appointed such an outstanding priest as Greg Kelly to serve as a bishop in our diocese to be an early Christmas gift from Pope Francis," Bishop Farrell said in a statement.
He said his new brother bishop "is extremely well-respected by priests and parishioners alike. He has done an outstanding job as pastor and chaplain, and has been very helpful to me in his role as vicar for clergy."
Bishop-designate Kelly's appointment comes the same month as the diocese is concluding its 125th anniversary.
"I am truly overwhelmed and shocked when I think about it," the newly named bishop said in a statement about his appointment. "I am confident that God's grace to do this job comes with this call but ask that you please pray for me.
"I am grateful to the Holy Father, whom I greatly admire, for this appointment and I look forward to serving the people of the Diocese of Dallas as a bishop and working with Bishop Farrell and [Dallas Auxiliary] Bishop Doug Deshotel in this new capacity."
Kelly was born Feb. 15, 1956, in Le Mars, Iowa. He attended Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado, before entering the seminary.
He pursued seminary studies at Holy Trinity Seminary in Irving, Texas, from 1976-1982. He received a bachelor's degree in philosophy and a master's degree in theology in 1978 and 1982, respectively, from the Catholic-run University of Dallas.
Assignments after his 1982 ordination included four years as an assistant pastor, then chaplain at University of Dallas from 1986 to 1996. He was founding pastor of St. Gabriel Parish in McKinney, Texas, from 1996 to 2008.
He also has the diocese as vocation director, member of the priests' council, member of the college of consultors, and interim rector at Holy Trinity Seminary.
The Diocese of Dallas covers more than 7,500 square miles in the state of Texas. It has a total population of close to 4 million people of whom close to 1.3 million, or 32 percent, are Catholic.