PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - Pope Benedict XVI has named 48-year-old Father Gregory L. Parkes as the Bishop-elect of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
"As you might imagine, a moment as a priest, this is a moment that you never really prepare for. However, in my life and in my priesthood, I have always tried to trust in the Lord's will," said Reverend Parkes.
Bishop-elect Parkes has served the Orlando diocese as Vicar General and Chancellor for Canonical Affairs and as the pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Celebration, Florida.
In addition to serving as vicar general and chancellor for canonical affairs for the Orlando diocese, Bishop-elect Parkes has also served at the diocesan level on the College of Consultors, the Finance Committee, the Priest Placement Board, the Presbyteral Council, and the Incardination Committee. He serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida.
"And I believe when the Lord calls us to something for his glory that he gives us what we need to accomplish it and now the Lord has called me to be your Bishop, to be your Shepard here in Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee," said Parkes.
Archbishop Thomas Wenski has been serving the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee as apostolic administrator since the retirement of Bishop John H. Ricard in March 2011 due to health reasons.
"He will be ordained a Bishop here in Pensacola in a short time from now. We're thinking the ordination will be on June 5," said Archbishop Wenski.
"Bishop-elect Parkes served me well in a variety of capacities when I was the Bishop of Orlando. The Holy Father has made an excellent choice in Bishop-elect Parkes. He is a good priest and a holy man. I am confident that he will serve the people of Pensacola-Tallahassee well whom I have grown very fond of during my year as their Apostolic Administrator. As Metropolitan Archbishop of the Province of Miami, I look forward to Bishop-elect Parkes' future ministry here in Florida as a successor to the Apostles," said Wenski.
Tuesday, at Saint Michael's Catholic church in downtown Pensacola, some parishioners were glad to hear about the appointment.
"It's like when we don't have a Bishop during that interim period, we're like orphans, kind of. Because our father, because, he is the father of the Diocese of us all. We don't have that, and we miss that leadership role," said Marcia Kruszewski of Walnut Hill.
"I'm very happy for everything that Archbishop Wenski has done for our Diocese, but I know he's got his own job, too. So very excited for the new Bishop," said Katinka Ritz of Pensacola.
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