This Sunday both Fr. Zack and Fr. George gave homilies that addressed race, prejudice and white privilege. Both have received emails of support and push back – as expected. Continue reading Racial Justice
Bishop Parkes’ Statement on the death of George Floyd and Subsequent Protests.
“Please join me in reflecting on how we, including our institutions and families can be part of the solution to end cycle of racism in our nation.” Continue reading Bishop Parkes’ Statement on the Death of George Floyd
It is so wonderful to see our ministries working to continue to be prayerful and be there for each other during this time of being Safer At Home. See how some of our ministries are coming together and staying connected.
Our Rosary Devotional Group is a group of parishioners who enjoy opening themselves up to God by praying the Rosary. Each month, they meditate on one of the mysteries – Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous, or Glorious, and members have the opportunity to make prayer requests on behalf of those in need. Last Saturday was their usual meeting date and they did not allow the Safer At Home rules to keep them from meeting. They all met on Zoom and those who didn’t have a computer, called in.
Our Knights of Columbus participate in many projects within our community and within our parish. Their latest project was to assist in collecting food for Hillsborough Hope. Last week, we shared with our parishioners how we are working with Catholic Charities to help feed those residing at Hillsborough Hope, a small city of tents for some of the homeless in our community. We asked for your help and as always, you went above and beyond our expectations in helping those less fortunate. You donated enough food for many weeks. Every Sunday, we will bring 110 bagged breakfasts for those living at Hillsborough Hope. This past Sunday our Knights of Columbus handled the collection and distribution to Hillsborough Hope but some of our other ministries will also be assisting in future weeks. For more information about Hillsborough Hope and some great photos, go here.
Our Open Doors ministry welcomes LGBTQ people of faith to explore their spirituality and share their experience, strength, and hope with one another. In addition to service projects, they gather once a month for prayer and reflection. Next Monday, April 13th, they will be having a virtual “zoom” meeting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to join the meeting.
January 22, 2020 marks a sad anniversary: the U.S. Supreme Court’s tragic decision legalizing the deliberate taking of unborn human life through elective abortion. Judicial sanction of the termination of life in the womb seen by some as a “right” is a “wrong” that for 47 years has coarsened hearts and darkened minds. Today, after more than 60 million abortions, there is less regard for all human life as society discards those deemed inconvenient because of age, infirmity or any other reason.
This past year, in one of the most polarized political environments experienced in recent history, we were appalled that some states sought to strengthen laws that permit abortions even to the moment of birth. We also saw the U.S. Congress fail repeatedly to consider protections that ensure infants who survive abortion receive proper medical care.
Yet, amid this darkness, signs of hope remain, and good and courageous acts light a way forward. The passage of laws by several state legislatures to restrict abortion is encouraging. Wide support in Florida for the vital help provided to pregnant women and their families by pregnancy care centers is greatly welcomed. Parish and other ministries that provide material and spiritual help and offer hope and healing for those suffering from past abortions hearten us and are to be commended.
The prevailing interpretation of the privacy clause in our Florida constitution, which has provided broader rights to abortion than the U.S. Constitution, is frustrating. Nevertheless, we are hopeful that legislation requiring a 24-hour reflection period prior to an abortion will ultimately survive court challenges and be upheld as law.
Despite the claims by some that Roe v. Wade is “settled law”, Americans are still conflicted about abortion, and this is what lies behind much of the divisiveness of today’s political discourse. As Catholics, we do not pretend to impose our views about human life on the citizenry of this great nation. Nevertheless, as Americans, we wish to contribute, as faithful and faith-filled citizens, to the common good and to promote human flourishing in our society by making our proposal. Dr. Martin Luther King’s proposal on the need for racial justice touched the conscience of a nation and brought about the end of Jim Crow. In the same way, our proposal informed by Catholic teachings but accessible to reason hopes to touch consciences and bring an end to America’s “slaughter of the innocents”.
This proposal holds that everyone’s human dignity is served when each human life is protected in law from the moment of conception until natural death. Respect for the right to life and dignity of every human person – whether he or she be poor, an immigrant, a refugee, incarcerated, infirmed, sick, elderly or unborn – simply reaffirms the self-evident truth that “all men are created equal” and “endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights” and thus promotes the “more perfect union” to which our founders aspired.
The Catholic Church recognizes the right of sovereign nations to control its borders and our Church also teaches that the basic human rights of each person should never be violated. That is why the images we have seen and the stories we have heard recently about immigrants arriving in our country, shock and sadden us to our core. There must be a better and more humane way to care for the migrants who are seeking refuge in our nation. Continue reading Bishop Parkes: Statement on Immigration Crisis
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.
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 Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be for the intention of the novena.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
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:
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.”