Liverpool: silver jubilee celebrations for Archbishop Patrick Kelly

 Liverpool's Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King is set to welcome one of the largest congregations in its 42 year history when the Most Reverend Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, celebrates his Episcopal Silver Jubilee on Friday 3 April.

The Archbishop will be the Celebrant at a 5.30pm Mass attended by Bishops, priests and people from throughout the country. Among those attending will be Archbishop Faustino Sainz Munoz, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain; Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, and Church Leaders from other Christian denominations. On April 3 it will be exactly twenty-five years since the Archbishop was ordained as Bishop of Salford by Bishop Thomas Holland in St John's Cathedral, Salford. On 21 May 1996 it was announced that he was to become Archbishop of Liverpool and he was installed in the Metropolitan Cathedral on 3 July that year.

The Lord Lieutenant of Liverpool, Dame Lorna Muirhead, and the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Steve Rotheram, will both read at the Mass. Among those present will be members of the Archbishop's family, priests and people from Liverpool and from his former Diocese of Salford. The Archbishop's 'home' Diocese of Lancaster will be represented, as will be St Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham, where he served as a lecturer and Rector with those studying for the priesthood.

Speaking of his years as a Bishop the Archbishop said: 'On every day when I have found myself invited to undertake a new way of serving our Lord and his people, either at Mass or in the Prayer which is part of the daily life of the Church, these words have been appointed to be read: 'Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, to him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.' (Ephesians 3:20-21) The last 25 years have proved them to be absolutely true. On 3 April the spirit of prayer will be this: 'All glory and honour are yours Almighty Father'.

Archbishop Patrick Kelly was born in Morecambe, Lancashire on 23 November 1938, the first son of John and Mary Kelly. His father, originally from Donegal, was a local dentist. The Archbishop attended St Mary's Primary School, Morecambe and Preston Catholic College before commencing studies for the priesthood in Rome in 1955. He was ordained at the English College in Rome by Cardinal William Godfrey, a former Archbishop of Liverpool, on 18 February 1962. Monsignor Derek Worlock, later to become Archbishop of Liverpool, was then Cardinal Godfrey's secretary and was present at the ordination. Archbishop Kelly remained in Rome for postgraduate studies until 1964.

On his return to England he was appointed as Assistant Priest at St Peter's Cathedral, Lancaster where he served for two years and where his duties included visiting inmates in Lancaster Castle prison.

He then joined the staff of St Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham, as a lecturer in theology, becoming Rector in 1979, and continuing in that post until his appointment as Bishop of Salford in 1984.

As a member of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales he has chaired the Department for International Affairs and has also served on the Committee for International Justice and Peace, and the Bishops' Committee for deaf people. He has been a consultor to the Pontifical Commission for International Justice and Peace and on an ecumenical level he is a former member of ARCIC (The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission). In November 1999 he was elected as vice-President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.

He leads the Co-ordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church in the Holy Land, a group of European and North American bishops who meet regularly in the region with the aim of acting in solidarity with local Christians and sharing in the pastoral life of the local Church. He is also President of the International Catholic Foundation at the service of deaf people and led the first ever international pilgrimage of deaf people to Rome in 2008.

In his spare time he reads and listens to music, relishing his regular visits to concerts at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

The Mass of Thanksgiving on the Episcopal Silver Jubilee of Archbishop Patrick Kelly will be celebrated in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King at 5.30 pm on Friday 3 April 2009. It is open to all and tickets are not required.

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