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2017 Chrism Mass

The Chrism Mass was held at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle. The Mass of Chrism usually takes place on Holy Thursday, but since the Diocese of St. Petersburg is so large and the priests and other people have to travel so far, it is held on Tuesday in the Cathedral during Holy Week.

Photos / Video

At this Mass, priests, in the presence of the bishop, renewed their personal dedication to Jesus Christ, promised to unite themselves closer to Christ and renewed their commitment to priestly service. The people promised to support their priests and the bishop asked everyone to pray for him.

During this calendar year 2017, twenty one of our priests will celebrate a 25th, 40th, 50th, 60th, and 65th anniversaries of ordination. As is our tradition, Bishop Parkes honored them at the Chrism Mass. See the names of those celebrating below.

25th Anniversary

  • Very Rev. Richard Jankowski, V.F.
  • Rev. Robert G. Romaine
  • Rev. Stephen C. Ryan, S.D.B.
  • Rev. Jose Tejada

40th Anniversary

  • Rev. Hector J. Cruz, S.M.
  • Rev. Jose George
  • Rev. Jerome J. Massimino, O.F.M.
  • Rev. John W. McDowell, O.F.M.
  • Rev. Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
  • Rev. Msgr. Cesar Petilla

50th Anniversary

  • Rev. Raul M. Acosta, S.D.B.
  • Rev. William R. Bigelow
  • Rev. Terence K. Fleming
  • Rev. Malachy Kilbride, C.S.Sp.
  • Rev. Gerasimos T. Murphy, B.S.O.
  • Rev. David J. Tickerhoof, T.O.R.

60th Anniversary

  • Rev. Joseph Braun, M. Afr.
  • Rev. Msgr. Diego Conesa
  • Rev. Msgr. Michael F. Devine
  • Rev. Msgr. James C. Lara

65th Anniversary

  • Rev. Bernardas Talaisis

During the Mass of Chrism, the Oil of Chrism was consecrated by the bishop. The bishop mixed olive oil and balsam in a large container before consecrating the Oil of Chrism. This oil is used in local churches during the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, in the Cathedral for the sacrament of Holy Orders, and in the blessing of new church altars.

Parish priests or deacons then transported the Oil of Chrism to their local parishes and missions.

The bishop also blessed the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick. The Oil of Catechumens is used in a ceremony with people who are preparing to enter the Catholic Church, before they are baptized. The Oil of the Sick is used in the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, when people who are seriously ill are blessed.

Two representatives from 74 parishes, the University of South Florida, Pastoral Center and 7 missions in the Diocese brought vessels of olive oil for the bishop to bless for the Oil of Catechumens and the Oil of the Sick. These blessed oils were brought back to their parishes and missions and solemnly presented during local Holy Thursday evening services.

Survey & Listening Sessions with Bishop Parkes

As he settles into his new position as fifth Bishop of St. Petersburg, Bishop Parkes would like to hear the input and opinions of the faithful.

He will be holding nine listening sessions across the Diocese over the next several months to hear the answers to the following three questions.

  1. What are we doing well as a diocese?
  2. What things could we improve upon as a diocese?
  3. What things in ministry should we be focusing on as a local Church?

See the dates and locations for the listening sessions below. If you are unable to attend one of the nine listening sessions, Bishop Parkes would still like your feedback. Please answer the questions via a bilingual, anonymous, online survey (link below). All responses will be read and considered.


PDF Flyer English (Word: Color / B&W) (PDF: Color / B&W) | Image for Social Media

PDF Flyer Spanish (Word: ColorB&W)  (PDF: ColorB&W) | Image for Social Media

February 27, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
St. Stephen Parish
5049 Bell Shoals Road
Valrico, FL 33596

February 28, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
St. Lawrence Parish
5225 N. Himes Ave
Tampa, FL 33614

March 6, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Espiritu Santo Parish
2405 Philippe Pkwy
Safety Harbor, FL 34695

March 14, 2017
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
St. Scholastica Parish
4301 W. Homosassa Trail
Lecanto, FL 34461

March 20, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
St. Mark the Evangelist Parish
9724 Cross Creek Blvd
Tampa, FL 33647

March 24, 2017 – IN SPANISH
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
St. Clement Parish
1104 N. Alexander Street
Plant City, FL 33563

March 27, 2017
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
8014 State Road 52
Hudson, FL 34667

March 28, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish
5030 Mariner Blvd.
Spring Hill, FL 34609

April 17, 2017
7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
St. Petersburg Catholic High School
6333 9th Ave. N.
St. Petersburg, FL 33710

Saint Leo University Makes Difference With Bottle Caps

More Than 12,000 Pounds Recycled to Purchase Wheelchairs for Children

Giving back to the community is a central part of life at Saint Leo University, and a recent project not only helped others, but also protected the environment. Students, faculty, staff, and community organizations and businesses collected bottle caps for Caps of Love, a Florida-based nonprofit organization that recycles plastic tops.

The proceeds from recycling the plastic are used to purchase new and refurbished wheelchairs for children with mobility disabilities.

Under the guidance of the Office of Residence Life, Saint Leo collected 12,000 pounds of plastic caps—enough to fill 21 pallets. On Thursday, March 23, Saint Leo held a celebration and send-off for the Caps of Love project featuring food, music, and giveaways while a truck was loaded to take the caps for recycling at Commercial Plastics Recycling in Tampa.

Saint Leo University had many partners in this project including Home Depot; Zephyrhills Water; Rowland Transportation; Sabrina Burton Schultz and the Diocese of St. Petersburg; Montessori by the Sea School; Pasco-Hernando State College-North campus; Southern Charm Mobile Home Park in Zephyrhills; The Rock Church in Brooksville; Trinity Church of Wesley Chapel; Highlander Café located in Crystal River; Naval Air Station Pensacola; Domino’s Pizza; and several Pasco and Hillsborough county schools and scout troops.

Last year, Saint Leo University collected more than 8,000 pounds of plastic bottle caps, which filled 14 pallets.

“Saint Leo University participates in this program to promote giving of our time and realizing that together as a community we can make a difference,” said Heidi D’Ambrosio, senior coordinator for Residence Life.

The goal of the Caps of Love organization is to, “educate the public on how to identify and recycle correctly and to provide wheelchairs to the physically challenged under the age of 21,” in the United States, according to its website.

Saint Leo students sorted through transparent and colored bottle caps and separated them into three types. The main types of plastic Caps of Love recycles are: Polypropylene No. 5, Polyethylene No. 2, and Polyethylene No. 4. The caps were boxed for shipping to the recycling company.

“I think this program is fantastic because it is a way to make a difference in a child’s life and it has brought the community together as well as four counties,” D’Ambrosio said.

The university will continue the project and collect more bottle caps for Caps of Love, hoping to top this year’s total. See accompanying photos by clicking here.

The Catholic Identity of Saint Leo University

Did you know that Saint Leo University is the oldest Catholic university in Florida and is the fourth largest Catholic university in the United States?

Founded in 1889, Saint Leo University is a leading Catholic teaching institution that enrolls almost 15,000 students across our traditional Florida campus, more than 40 education center and office locations, and online degree programs.

Learn more about the history of Saint Leo University in the video below.

St. Patrick’s Feast Day Dispensation

With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday (March 17, 2017) during the Lenten Season, Bishop Gregory Parkes is granting to the faithful of the Diocese of St. Petersburg a dispensation from abstaining from meat on that Friday alone. The faithful are encouraged to choose another day in the same week or as soon as possible to abstain from meat to assist in their spiritual Lenten journey.

2017 Lenten Season

During Lent, we are encouraged to raise up the needs of the world in prayer, to sacrifice or fast by giving up food or material wants, and to offer our time, talent, and treasure as good stewards of the gifts God has given us.

See how our parishes and schools are journeying through this Lenten season in the “2017 Lent around the Diocese” photo album (see last year’s album here). Learn more about submitting your photos to the album. See how to submit your photos to the album.

Send in Your Lenten Photos

We are looking for photos that show how you and your parish are journeying through the Lenten season. Possible photos to submit might be from your parish’s mission, Stations of the Cross, fish fry, or other Lenten events. Photos of no-meat meals on Friday are welcome as well!

We will be adding these photos to the special “2017 Lent around the Diocese” photo albums on the DOSP Flickr and Facebook.

By sending us these photos you are giving us permission to publish them in print and online materials, so be sure to have permission from all people in the photograph/s.

Please note that if the photo has a minor in it, the parent/guardian will need to sign the official DOSP Model Release form in order for us to post that photo. The form can be filled out electronically and emailed back, filled out and scanned and emailed back, or printed and mailed to the address below.

Diocese of St. Petersburg
ATTN: Office of Communications
PO Box 40200
St. Petersburg, FL 33743

If you have any high-resolution photos that you would like to submit, please email them to

Marriage Enrichment Workshop on March 18

Married couples of all ages are invited to attend a one-day workshop entitled Married and in Love Most of the Time. The workshop will be from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 18 at the Bishop Larkin Pastoral Center in St. Petersburg. The cost is $35 per couple and includes continental breakfast, lunch, and all program materials. Please pre-register by filling out this registration form and sending it in by March 15. Questions? Contact Deb Alexander at or 727-341-6847.

ACTION ALERT: Urge Congress to Support Refugees and Protect DACA Youth

President Donald Trump is reportedly planning to issue Executive Orders that could that could have devastating impacts on refugee resettlement in the United States and harm Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) youth. According to drafts we have seen, the Executive Order would:

  • Halt the entire refugee admissions program for 120 days to determine additional security vetting procedures;
  • Cut the number of refugees admitted in FY 2017 from 110,000 to 50,000;
  • Suspend resettlement of refugees from Syria;
  • Possibly suspend the issuance of visas to individuals from countries of concern, including nationals of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen;
  • End the DACA program.

The U.S. refugee resettlement program is a life-saving program for the most vulnerable of the world’s refugees. Welcoming people fleeing violence and conflict in various regions of the world is part of our identity as Catholics. We seek to protect the vulnerable and recognize the human dignity of all. Moreover, when the United States through its resettlement program shares responsibility with refugee host countries, it helps the refugees, supports the countries, and helps to enhance peace, security, and stability to sensitive regions in the world. Today, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced from their homes, the need for the U.S. to show leadership in welcoming refugees and provide freedom from persecution is more urgent than ever.

Refugees who come through the program go through a rigorous, extensive vetting process. If issued, this reported Executive Order would virtually halt the arrival of refugees for at least 120 days, including those who have already gone through up to two years of vetting. Standing up for refugees and for the life-saving resettlement program is consistent with our values as Americans and as Catholics.

There are more than 750,000 young people who have received and benefitted from DACA. They are contributors to our economy, veterans of our military, academic standouts in our universities, and leaders in our parishes. As Catholics, we support DACA youth as we believe in protecting the dignity of every human being, especially that of our children. We have long supported DACA youth and their families. These young people entered the U.S. as children and know America as their only home.

Please email President Trump and Congress now and urge them to stand up for refugees and to protect DACA youth. Send an email now.