Bishop’s visit makes St. Patrick’s day

Bishop Gregory Parkes, with Priest Secretary Paul Lambert at left, holds aloft the wine and unleaven

Bishop Gregory Parkes, with Priest Secretary Paul Lambert at left, holds aloft the wine and unleavened bread of the Eucharist.

David Adlerstein
Published: Saturday, March 23, 2013 at 02:59 PM.

It was a perfect storm for Catholics in Apalachicola Sunday, as the diocese’s bishop visited St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on, of all days, St. Patrick’s Day.

Father Gregory Parkes, bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, celebrated Mass Sunday morning, flanked by Father Paul Lambert, the Priest Secretary to the Bishop, and Father Roger Latosynski, pastor of the congregation of about 160 families.

The sanctuary was full of worshippers eager to hear from Parkes, a former banker who earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Florida State University, before his ordination, at age 35, as a priest in 1999. After serving congregations in Orlando and Celebration, Parkes was named chancellor of the Orlando diocese from 2005-12 and its vicar general from 2009-12.

One year ago this week, Pope Benedict XVI named Parkes bishop, and he was ordained in June 2012 at St. Paul's Church in Pensacola.

“Since June, I have been to 50 of the 55 parishes for either a visit or for Mass,” he told the congregation, as he stepped forward to speak from directly in front of the pews. “You might be saying to yourself ‘What took you so long to get here?’ I was saving the best for last.”

Parkes drew laughter when he addressed the most obvious question on everyone’s mind, none of whom had difficulty catching a glimpse of him.

“C’mon, fess up, you know what you’re thinking,” he chided the church gathering. “The question of course is ‘How tall are you?’”

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