Archbishop Wenski exhorts new Florida bishop to give hope

Tallahassee, Fla., Jun 7, 2012 / 12:04 am (CNA).- As Bishop Gregory L. Parkes was ordained a bishop and installed as head of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee on June 5, he was encouraged to give hope to those who lack it.

Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami was the principal consecrator at the ordination Mass, which was held in Pensacola’s St. Paul Catholic Church. He proposed to Bishop Parkes a “road map” for his ministry.

“You are asked to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to go ahead of and lead God's people; you are asked to teach the sacred heritage of our past; to defend and promote the doctrinal unity of the faithful; to show mercy and charity to the needy and the poor; you are asked to pray without ceasing,” Archbishop Wenski said in his homily.

Bishop Parkes, 48, is originally from Long Island in New York State. He moved to Florida to attend college at Florida State University in Tallahassee. In 1999 he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Orlando, where one of his two brothers is a priest.

At 6 feet 8 inches tall, Bishop Parkes is believed to be the tallest bishop in the U.S.

During Tuesday's ordination, Bishop Felipe J. Estévez of Saint Augustine, Bishop John Noonan of Orlando, and the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee’s Bishop emeritus John H. Ricard served as Bishop Parkes’ co-consecrators.

Also among the co-consecrators was Diocese native Bishop Martin D. Holley, who is now an auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C.

Archbishop Wenski exhorted the new bishop to “shepherd the flock entrusted to your care so that they and you will readily give to the world the reasons for your hope.” Citing Bl. John Paul II, the archbishop said a bishop is called in a particular way to be “a prophet, witness, and servant of hope.”

The archbishop’s homily lamented a “loss of hope” seen in “some people’s “seemingly insatiable appetite for illegal drugs, fleeting pleasures or elusive riches.”

“Without hope, people do not make any enduring or lasting commitments to the future – by responding to the call of a religious or priestly vocation or to the call of a project called marriage and a family,” Archbishop Wenski said.

A society that reduces religion to the private realm “expels hope from its midst,” he reflected.

Bishop Parkes visited Rome last month, and his remarks to CNA foreshadowed Archbishop Wenski’s focus on hope.

“I want to assure the Holy Father that I will be faithful to him and to the teaching of our Church and to let him know that there is great hope in the United States,” he said May 11.

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