All posts by FrGeorge

(Updated) Statement from Bishop Gregory Parkes concerning the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report

Updated statement from Bishop Parkes (August 17, 2018).

“I am saddened and angry to learn of the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report that spans a 70-year period and details tragic incidents by priests accused of abusing and exploiting children.

In response to this report and also the recent allegations against former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, I recommit my efforts to protecting youth and vulnerable adults from any type of abuse.

In the Diocese of St. Petersburg, we comply with the Charter for Protection of Children and Young People (Charter), which was adopted in June 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) that requires background screening and Safe Environment Program training for all who may have the care, responsibility, and/or supervision of Children and young people. Our diocese responds promptly to all credible allegations of abuse and removes the abuser from ministry. Additionally, we list the names of priests of the Diocese of St. Petersburg who have been accused of abuse on the Diocesan website.

I urge anyone who has been a victim of abuse by a member of the clergy or any representative of the Church to contact law enforcement and our victim assistance coordinator at 866-407-4505. Also, I urge anyone who is aware of abuse by a member of the clergy or representative of the Church to contact law enforcement and our victim assistance coordinator at 866-407-4505.

I pray for all victims of abuse around the nation and around the world. I also pray that the Church will learn from past mistakes to be able to safeguard the people we serve and to be authentic witnesses of charity, justice and truth.” (Bishop Gregory Parkes, Diocese of St. Petersburg)

Statement from Cardinal DiNardo and Bishop Doherty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, August 14, 2018.

Save the Date – Diocesan Family Faith Fest

Have you seen our recent bulletin announcements about the Diocese of St. Petersburg’s Family Faith Fest? On Saturday, October 27th at Al Lopez Park, it’s the first event of its kind sponsored by the Diocese and will have live music, food, exhibits, activities for children and teens, the celebration of Mass, shopping, health displays, and much more.

This Family Faith Fest will bring together thousands of people from across Tampa Bay and West Central Florida, both families and adults of all ages. Mark your calendars and join us from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm. By joining together as one Body of Christ, we can all grow in faith and grow in unity!

TICKET INFORMATION:  The event is free, but registration is recommended to accommodate for parking and other amenities. Register for your tickets here.

OUTREACH: Fest-goers are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the hungry and homeless of our community.

For more information, visit

Novena for the Legal Protection of Human Life

Beginning Friday, August 3rd and continuing each Friday through September 28th,  Bishop Parkes and all U.S. bishops urge participation from all the faithful in a nationwide novena, with prayer and fasting, in the hope of legislative change resulting in the protection of all human life.  Certainly the confirmation hearings for the new Supreme Court Justice will bring the dialogue to a national level.

Will you be part of a powerful prayer movement? Individuals are urged to sign up for the Novena as part of the USCCB Call to Prayer. Those who sign up will receive weekly email or text message reminders to pray and fast along with a fact about Roe v Wade to share with others. In addition to the current invitation to fast on Fridays, participants are encouraged to pray one Our FatherHail Mary, and Glory Be for the intention of the novena.

Stop Family Separation

A Statement from Bishop Gregory L. Parkes
The ongoing practice of separating children from their parents has already, as of May, left nearly 2000 children separated from their parents.  As Bishop Parkes reminds us, as a nation and people of faith, we can and must do better.

  1. Pray: You can find a prayer for migrant children here. On Wednesday, June 20th, 2018, at 8:00 p.m., we will show our solidarity with our immigrant brothers and sisters by praying together during a special Mass followed by a prayer service at San Jose Mission in Dover. We invite all to attend. If you cannot join us in person, please join us spiritually in prayer. Remember, we are called to live courageously by standing up for ALL vulnerable populations – the unborn, the disabled, the elderly, the imprisoned, the immigrant, and the refugee.
  2. Speak Up: Sign our Action Alert and share with your networks. Also consider contacting your senators and representative directly by phone to voice your concern. You can find the number for your representative here and your senators here.
  3. Take Action: Contact your local Catholic Charities affiliate to learn about their material/volunteer needs, consider fostering an unaccompanied child, or join the Share the Journey global solidarity campaign with migrants and refugees.
  4. Give: Support agencies that are helping families and children impacted by the crisis. (100% of your donation will go to the 21 Catholic Charities agencies assisting unaccompanied children.)
  5. Learn More: To learn more about Family Separation, visit the Justice for Immigrants (JFI) ”Family Separation Webpage” to review backgrounders, educational material, and a webinar.

Info adapted from Catholic Charities USA’s website.

Faith Formation Leadership

The Sacred Heart Faith Formation team is pleased to announce that our long-time, beloved Associate Director of Faith Formation, Maria Giral, will take over the leadership of the Sunday Morning Faith Formation and Wednesday Family Faith Formation programs as well as the Sacramental Preparation for Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.

Maria has contributed her immense talents, joy, and faith to the programs at Sacred Heart over the last three years, and has over 16 years of parochial faith formation program experience, both as a catechist and as an administrator.

Please offer Maria best wishes in this new endeavor.

Ordained for the Priesthood

We give thanks for the upcoming ordinations of four young men to the priesthood, both within our Diocese and within the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province.  Please keep them in your prayers as the set off on their new journeys of faith.

Our Diocese
Bishop Gregory Parkes will ordain Deacon Kyle Bell, Deacon Lou Turcotte, and Deacon Tim Williford to the priesthood on Saturday, May 19th at 11:00 am at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg. All are invited to attend this joyous celebration! If you cannot join us in person, you are invited to watch the live video stream on the Diocesan website and listen on Spirit FM 90.5. Please keep Deacons Kyle, Lou, and Tim in your prayers!

Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province
Archbishop Roberto González , O.F.M. (San Juan, PR) will ordain Deacon John Aherne, O.F.M. to the priesthood on Saturday, June 23rd at 11:00 am at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in New York City. Br. John spent the summer of 2015 with us and is remembered for many things – including his Irish Dance classes! Please keep John in your prayers.

John’s first assignment will be at St. Mary Church, Pompton Lakes, NJ.


Mother’s Day

For those whose mothers and grandmothers are still with us – cherish them today. Hug and kiss them. Honor them. Thank them. For those whose mothers have gone home to the Lord, remember them, pray for them, and thank them!

For all who bear the name Christian, the name of our eternal family, let us also honor the Mother of the Lord today. Her maternal care for Jesus still embraces all those who are joined to Him, as members of His Body, by that great new birth of Baptism.

Finally, let us ask the Lord to open our eyes, and our hearts, to come to more fully understand the great mystery and gift of the Church as our Mother. Let us live our lives as Christians, by living in the heart of Mother Church, for the sake of the world into which we are sent to bear the Good News.


U.S. Bishops Urge National Leaders to Address Scourge of Gun Violence

For many years, the USCCB has supported a federal ban on assault weapons, limitations on civilian access to high-capacity weapons and ammunition magazines, further criminalizing gun trafficking, certain limitations on the purchase of handguns, and safety measures such as locks that prevent children and anyone other than the owner from using guns without permission.

In the aftermath of the tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, and Bishop George V. Murry, S.J., of Youngstown, Ohio, Chairman of the Committee on Catholic Education, once again urge national leaders to finally come together and address the crisis of gun violence in a comprehensive way. Their comments are below:

Continue reading U.S. Bishops Urge National Leaders to Address Scourge of Gun Violence

Your Voice is Needed

Please participate in the Call-in Day to Congress on Monday, February 26th.
Your advocacy is critical to help the nearly 1.8 million Dreamers, young people who were brought into the United States by their parents as children. They may face deportation as soon as March 6, unless Congress reaches a bi-partisan deal to protect them. Bishop Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg and your own Franciscan Friars urge you to be part of this “call to action.”

Continue reading Your Voice is Needed