DALLAS — Dallas Bishop Kevin Farrell said after being named by Pope Francis to head a new Vatican office for families and laity that, above all, he’ll promote the pope’s desire to ensure that ordinary Catholics are an integral part of the Church.

The Wednesday appointment makes Farrell the highest-ranking American at the Holy See.

He’ll head the new Dicastery for the Laity, Families and Life, which combines several Vatican offices into one. (“Dicastery” is the formal Vatican term for a department or office.)

The Irish-born Farrell has been the Dallas bishop since 2007.

Farrell said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon: “I have always had in mind that in the Church, lay people needed to play an important role.”

The tweeting and blogging 68-year-old also said that in this new role he’ll also bring his department’s work “into the age of technology.”

Farrell, a former Legion of Christ priest whose brother Bishop Brian Farrell is also a top Vatican official, becomes one of the highest-ranking Americans at the Holy See.

Francis appointed Farrell on Wednesday as he formally created the new Dicastery for the Laity, Families and Life, which combines several preexisting Vatican offices into one. The reform is part of Francis’ bigger overhaul of the Vatican bureaucracy to make it more efficient, and reflects the pope’s focus on better ministering to Catholic families and laity.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Farrell said he’s greeted the news of his new post with “mixed emotions.”

“Dallas has been my home for 10 years and, from the beginning, I quickly grew to love the beautiful people and culture here,” he wrote.

“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, 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,” Farrell said.