ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — A new Bishop will lead hundreds of thousands of Catholics in the Tampa Bay area.
Reverend Bishop Gregory L. Parkes was installed as the fifth Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg during a ceremony on Wednesday.
Pope Francis appointed Parkes in November.
Bishop Parkes succeeds retiring Bishop Robert N. Lynch, who served in the Diocese of St. Petersburg since 1996.
Bishop Lynch is 75 years old, which is the age Catholic canon law requires bishops to turn in their resignations to the Pope.
Prior to his new appointment, Bishop Parkes served in the Diocese of Pensacola – Tallahassee.
His installation mass was held at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg on Wednesday afternoon. The installation mass was not open to the pubic due to limited seating.
During his homily, the new bishop joked about his stature with those in attendance. “First , I am 6’8″ tall. Yes, I did play basketball when I was younger. And yes, I am the tallest bishop in the United States of America,” he said.
After the service, News Channel 8 asked Bishop Parkes about his new assignment.
“Each bishop has his own gifts and talents, and I would like to think that I bring some of my own from my previous experience as a bishop and as a priest. But really I want to hear from people here to see where they think we should be going as well,” he said. “Well, it’s certainly going to be a new challenge for me. Being in a larger diocese, different geographic area of the state. But just the warm welcome that I’ve received since coming to St. Petersburg. I look forward to serving.”
Father Craig Morley from Holy Family Catholic Church told News Channel 8 what a new bishop brings to the diocese. “It’s a new start, a new beginning. Bishop Parkes is coming in as a young man, with a lot of fresh new ideas,” Father Morley said.
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