New Bishop to Head Diocese of St. Petersburg
He will replace Bishop Robert N. Lynch, who is retiring.
By TB Reporter
ST. PETERSBURG – The Most Reverend Gregory L. Parkes has been appointed to succeed Bishop Robert N. Lynch to head the Diocese of St. Petersburg.
Lynch is 75, the age at which Roman Catholic canon law requires him to retire. He has been bishop of St. Petersburg since 1996.
“I am filled with joy that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Parkes as the new bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg,” Lynch said. “I invite the faithful of our diocese and of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee to join me in offering prayers of thanksgiving and to pray for Bishop Parkes as he transitions to shepherd the people of the Diocese of St. Petersburg.”
Lynch said that the news “will not be a happy day in the history of the Pensacola-Tallahassee diocese.”
He asked for all to “say a prayer for our sisters and brothers who once again are entering, what we in Florida know as a cone of uncertainty.”
Parkes, a native of Mineola, NY, is familiar with the Tampa Bay area. He worked in Tampa in the banking industry before entering the seminary. While in Tampa, he attended Christ the King Parish.
“Please pray for me that I will be a good shepherd,” Parkes said. “That I will be the bishop you so richly deserve.”
Parkes said the news that Pope Francis had chosen him came as a surprise. His first action after receiving the news was to pray.
“As you can imagine, it was quite a shock,” Parkes said.
Parkes said he plans a kind of listening tour – visiting each church and school in the Diocese – before arriving at a vision of the path forward. Listening, he said, will give him a chance to formulate a “real, substantial” vision going forward.
Although Parkes said he wants to understand the issues facing the St. Petersburg Diocese, he already sees three goals. One is to help heal after November’s contentious election. The other is to reach out to serve the poor and homeless. The third is to evangelize.
“People are searching. They’re looking for meaning in their lives,” Parkes said. “They’re looking for hope.”
Parkes, 52, attended St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach and the Pontifical North American College in the Vatican City state. He holds a Sacred Theology degree and a Canon Law degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University.
He served in many pastoral assignments in the Orlando Diocese, including being the founding pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Celebration Village. He was ordained bishop of the Diocese of Tallahassee-Pensacola on June 5, 2012. The Tallahassee-Pensacola Diocese encompasses two time zones and hundreds of miles.
His installation as bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg is scheduled for Jan. 4 at St. Jude’s Cathedral, 5815 5th Ave. N.
For information about the Diocese of St. Petersburg, go to dosp.org.
Diocese of St. Petersburg | Gregory L. Parkes | Robert N. Lynch | Religion | TB Reporter
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