Vatican City, Nov 28, 2016 / 05:31 am (CNA/EWTN News).- On Monday the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has named Bishop Gregory Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee as the new head of the St. Petersburg diocese, where he will take over as their fifth bishop.
“I am filled with joy that Pope Francis has appointed Bishop Parkes as the new Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg,” the diocese’s outgoing bishop, Bishop Robert Lynch, said in a Nov. 28 press release announcing Parkes’ appointment.
He invited faithful in both St. Petersburg and in Pensacola-Tallahassee to join him “in offering prayers of thanksgiving and to pray for Bishop Parkes as he transitions to shepherd the people of the Diocese of St. Petersburg.”
Bishop Lynch, who has served the Diocese of St. Petersburg since 1996, will retire after having reached the age limit of 75.
The appointment of Bishop Parkes as his successor will officially be made at a Nov. 28 news conference in St. Petersburg, during which the new bishop will be introduced.
Born April 2, 1964, in Mineola, N.Y., Parkes spent his school years in Massapequa before moving onto Daytona Beach Community College, where he studied briefly before earning a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University.
He worked in banking in Tampa for several years before entering St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, where he studied from 1993-1996. He then transferred to Rome’s Pontifical North American College, where he remained until 2000.
In addition to his finance degree, Parkes also holds a Sacred Theology degree and a degree in Canon Law from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
Parkes was ordained a priest for the diocese of Orlando June 26, 1999, and has a brother, Fr. Stephen Parkes, who is also a priest and still serves in the diocese of Orlando.
After his ordination, Bishop Parkes went on to serve in various capacities, including as parochial vicar of Holy Family Catholic Church in Orlando from 2000-2004, and as parochial administrator and pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Celebration from 2005-2012.
He also served as Vicar General and Chancellor for Canonical Affairs in Orlando, as well as pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Celebration before his 2012 appointment as the fifth bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
In addition to English, the bishop also speaks Spanish and Italian.