SAVANNAH | No one likes cold eggs, but on Thursday morning, July 2, Father Stephen Parkes’ breakfast would have to wait. The pastor of Annunciation Parish in Altamonte Springs had just embarked on a 31-mile bike ride, something he would do weekly. He generally used that time to pray the mysteries of the rosary, and since it was a Thursday, he began the luminous mysteries. But something also inspired him to pray the joyful mysteries as well. When he returned to the rectory, he prepared breakfast and just before enjoying it, he received a phone call. Read more…
We may not see each other every day, but may we meet each day in our prayers.”
Bishop-Elect Stephen Parkes
“A day of great joy as my brother, Fr. Stephen Parkes, is appointed Bishop of Savannah by Pope Francis! Blessed to be brothers. Blessed to be brother Bishops!”
Bishop Gregory Parkes, Diocese of St. Petersburg
Seek always the face of the Lord (Psalm 105).
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
My Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Today I have joyous news to share with you about one of our beloved priests, Very Reverend Stephen Parkes. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has found him worthy of an ecclesiastical appointment to Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah and has made this announcement today. Bishop Elect Parkes will be travelling to and from the Diocese of Savannah while continuing to serve as pastor of Annunciation Catholic Church until September 23 when he will be ordained and installed as Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah.
A priest of twenty-two years, Bishop Elect Stephen Parkes, in my humble opinion, will be an excellent bishop. He serves in many leadership roles in the Diocese of Orlando, including Chair of the Presbyteral Council, Vicar Forane for the North Central Deanery, member of the Priests’ Personnel Board and College of Consultors, member of the Diocese of Orlando Real Estate Committee, and on the Endowment Board of Trustees of the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. He also serves on the Diocese of Orlando Seminary Admissions Committee and as the Diocese of Orlando Clergy Representative for the Board of Trustees at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary. He is Chaplain for Legatus, an association of the faithful, and recently resigned as one of the founding members of Board of The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida.
All of these committees and memberships have helped Bishop Elect Parkes to understand the workings of a Diocese and its various aspects. More importantly, Bishop Elect Parkes is a blessed and gifted pastor. Annunciation Catholic Church is one of the largest in the Diocese of Orlando and he entered the parish during a difficult transition with much sacrifice on his part. He is attentive to the spiritual gifts and needs of the people and immersed in parish life, so much so that when he learned of his appointment, his care and concern was about those young people who are scheduled to receive the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation and being able to confer those Sacraments before his departure. The blessing of the remodeled Sanctuary in which he led his parishioners to plan and build was one of great joy. As pastor of this well-established parish, he has met the holy people of God with the grace of a true shepherd.
In 2005, Bishop Elect Parkes was called to lead the faithful to form a community for the erection of Most Precious Blood Catholic Church in Oviedo. As a newly established parish, he gathered the scattered across various areas of rural Seminole County (not so rural any longer!) forming the people of God to lay the capstone of this parish in His glory. From the beginning, Christ was the foundation of this journey of faith.
In his leadership, Bishop Elect Parkes is attentive to the needs of the priests as he comes to know them. During his tenure at Annunciation Catholic Church, he was attentive to the spiritual and health needs of Monsignor Patrick Caverly, pastor emeritus, who died in 2017. Bishop Elect Parkes matured in his priesthood because of this gift. He has volunteered to serve on a committee to address the needs of senior priests because of this beautiful relationship.
I have attended various retreats and gatherings led by Bishop Elect Parkes. I am inspired by his meticulous planning of these spiritual offerings so that attendees encounter a closer experience with God. His choice of theme always is central to our faith in God and every aspect of his leadership is centered around God’s Presence among us.
I know you join me in my prayer of thanksgiving for Bishop Elect Stephen Parkes. We will miss him, but rejoice in having this time to know him and receiving the fruit of his priestly ministry here in the Diocese of Orlando. We will support him during this time of transition and offer him any assistance as he prepares to leave us. We say, Seek the face of the Lord, Bishop Elect Parkes. He is calling you. Be His light among us.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend John Noonan
Bishop of Orlando
July 8, 2020
My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Grace to you and Peace in Christ Jesus our Lord!
I am pleased to inform you that this morning, His Holiness Pope Francis honored our diocese with the appointment of a new bishop! Father Stephen Parkes, a priest of the Diocese of Orlando, has been named the 15th bishop of Savannah. We are deeply grateful to our Holy Father for this gift to our diocese.
How fortunate we are to welcome a seasoned and gifted pastor! In his 22 years of priestly ministry, he has served in parishes, directed souls, and was the campus minister at the University of Central Florida for nearly a decade. His pastoral zeal and concern are immediately evident when meeting him. He has also served in various capacities and on multiple councils and boards advising the bishops of his diocese.
His ordination and installation will be at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist on Wednesday, September 23rd, the Feast of Saint Padre Pio. Details will be forthcoming. We warmly welcome Bishop-elect Parkes to Savannah as he takes up the mantle of shepherding our diocese.
Please keep him in your prayers these next few months as he prepares for his ordination and installation as the next bishop of the Diocese of Savannah!
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Very Reverend Daniel F. Firmin, J.C.L.
Diocese of Savannah
Learn About Bishop-Elect Stephen Parkes