After nearly 10 years leading the Diocese of Dallas, Bishop Kevin J. Farrell on Oct. 7 will begin his new role as the prefect of the Vatican’s new office of laity, family and life.
In a Sept. 29 interview with WFAA in Dallas, Bishop Farrell said that while he will miss greatly the people of the diocese, when the pope calls, you answer.
“You’re sitting in this little room with the pope, and he has all the time in the world to tell you what his plan is and what he wants and why he wants it, and what are you going to do? You just can’t say no,” he said. “I thought it was a joke. Why would he have picked me, I do not know.”
Bishop Farrell, a native of Ireland, was born in Dublin on Sept. 2, 1947. He was ordained to the priesthood as a member of the Legionaries of Christ on Dec. 24, 1978. He was incardinated into the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., in 1984 and ordained an auxiliary bishop in 2002. He was appointed bishop of Dallas in 2007, being installed May 1, 2007.
Bishop Farrell was appointed as a Catholic of the Year in 2014 by Our Sunday Visitor for his decision to house several people who had come into contact with an Ebola patient amid a worldwide scare. He said in the interview that it was a simple decision.
“I did it because I believed it was the right thing to do, and I said to myself, ‘What would Christ have done, what would Jesus do?’” he said.
Until Pope Francis appoints a successor to the Diocese of Dallas, Auxiliary Bishop Greg Kelly will serve as administrator. But Bishop Farrell, who told WFAA that he expected a successor would be appointed in the next few months, had some advice for whomever is picked to lead the diocese.
“They have to get to know the people,” he said. “You cannot come and just sit in an office. You have to be out there in every parish.”
Bishop Farrell said that while his next stop in serving the Church is Rome, he expects to return.
“I’m sad to leave Dallas in many ways. I feel it’s my home, and eventually I will come back to retire in Dallas,” he said. “I will always have Dallas in my heart.”
Watch the entire video here.