Archbishop Kelly remembered at Mass

By Marnie McAllister, Record Assistant Editor

On the first anniversary of his death, Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly was remembered for his friendship and leadership during a noon Mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz celebrated the Dec. 14 liturgy and prayed “for the faithful repose of the soul of Archbishop Kelly” and “with gratitude for his presence and spiritual leadership.”

Eighteen priests joined him at the altar and about 200 faithful filled the cathedral’s seats.

Archbishop Kurtz noted during his homily that he recently spent an evening reading two volumes of letters which the late archbishop wrote to his mother over the course of three decades.

“What a pleasant evening I had,” he said. “They really gave an insight into the quiet, humorous, very wise part of Archbishop Kelly.”

Archbishop Kurtz also noted that he received a letter recently from a man who said he’d been friends with Archbishop Kelly since they met as high school freshmen in 1945. The writer said that a Mass would be celebrated for the late archbishop at his parish in New Jersey. He also wrote that he considered Archbishop Kelly to be his “best friend,” second only to his wife.

Archbishop Kurtz said that Christ is present in such friendships.

“Friendship has something to do with a love that moves us out of ourselves and allows Christ to come into the life of both the one we befriend and ourselves,” he said. “And so it is with the friendship we all had and continue to have with Archbishop Kelly.

“We pray, for sure, for the faithful repose of his soul,” he added. “But we also pray in gratitude for our friend who enriched our lives.”

After the liturgy, the public was invited to view a special display which features items from Archbishop Kelly’s life in the Archdiocese of Louisville History Center, 424 S. Fifth St. The display will be available on Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Ash Wednesday.

Groups also can make reservations to see the exhibit by calling 582-2971, ext. 5213, or sending an email to

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One reply on “Archbishop Kelly remembered at Mass”
  1. says: Beverly McAuliffe

    I will never forget Archbishop Kelly, a man of great compassion and tenderness. and I have many happy memories of his kindnesses to me personally and professionally. A picture of him with our daughter after he confirmation is proudly displayed in our family room. He was compassionate, caring, witty, and engaging! Rest in God;s peace, dear Archbishop Kelly!

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