All posts by Maria

USCCB President Calls for Courage and Commitment on Martin Luther King Jr. Day

WASHINGTON— The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, has issued the following statement in relation to the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“In recent years—including last summer in Charlottesville—we have glimpsed an appalling truth that lurks beneath the surface of our culture. Even with all the progress our country has made on the issue, racism remains a living reality. As our nation celebrates the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are given an important time to recommit ourselves to the Gospel message he preached, that the sin of racism can be defeated by active love and the light of faith.

Our challenge is to bring Dr. King’s message into the present moment in a way that inspires lasting change. In a pivotal 1958 essay, he wrote that: ‘Along the way of life, someone must have the sense enough and the morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. This can only be done by projecting the ethics of love to the center of our lives.’

Breaking the chain of hate requires both courage and commitment. Sr. Mary Antona Ebo, a Franciscan Sister of Mary and the first African-American sister to march with Dr. King in Selma, exemplified these qualities. She told those gathered that: ‘I’m here because I’m a Negro, a nun, a Catholic, and because I want to bear witness.’ Sister Antona passed away on November 11 last year at the age of 93. She remained a bold and dedicated champion of civil rights throughout her lifetime, and her witness should inspire our own.

We pray in confidence that Jesus Christ will remind us all that he is the most powerful means to break the chains of hate that still bind too many hearts, a truth which lies at the center of Dr. King’s legacy.”

USCCB racism resources and information about the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism can be found at:

Help Welcome Refugees by Making a Hope Kit

Catholic Charities is helping to resettle refugees in our community. When refugees families and individuals arrive in the United States, they have very few possessions to their name. That is when Catholic Charities, Diocese of St. Petersburg steps in. From the moment refugees arrive at the airport, Catholic Charities is there to guide them toward becoming self-sufficient and contributing members of their new community.

Refugees are in the United States legally, having fled their home country because of persecution or the fear of persecution passed on race, ethnicity, religion, political belief or membership in a particular social group. Refugees receive extensive background screening before coming to our community for safety and freedom.

Catholic Charities in our diocese works with national organizations to assist refugees arriving in the Tampa Bay area. Often, there are only a few days notification before receiving a refugee family. In that time, a complete household must be set up. As seen internationally, the greatest need at this time is for refugees settling from the war torn Middle East, fleeing violence and persecution on Syria and Iraq.

Catholic Charities will be collecting household items for the refugee families. Please consider putting together one or more of the Hope Kits described below.

Each kit should consist of new items placed in a single container and ready for delivery. Be creative! Fill a laundry basket with cleaning supplies, a wastebasket with kitchen essentials or any other suitable container that can be presented as a gift. These kits can be dropped off at any of the Catholic Charities locations listed below. 

Kitchen Kit

  • Dish Soap/Dishwasher Detergent
  • Sponges/Scouring Pads
  • Pot Holders
  • Kitchen Towels
  • Kitchen Trash Can (30 gal.)
  • Kitchen Trash Bags (30 gal.)
  • Storage Bags (Ziplock-type)
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Wax Paper
  • Paper Towels

Bathroom Kit

  • Towels/Wash Cloths
  • Bath Mat/Bathroom Rug
  • Shower Curtain & Rings
  • Toilet Paper/Kleenex
  • Small Trash Can
  • Small Plastic Trash Can Bags
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner/Brush
  • First Aid Kit
  • Insect Repellent

Cleaning Kit

  • Laundry Basket
  • Laundry Detergent/Bleach
  • Softener
  • Clothes Pins
  • Bucket/Mop & Broom
  • Sponges/Scrub Brushes
  • Mild Abrasive Cleaner
  • Glass or All Surface Cleaner
  • Paper Towels

Personal Grooming Kit

  • Bars of Soap
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Hair Brushes/Combs
  • Nail Clippers
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Shaving Cream
  • Disposable Safety Razors
  • Deodorant (men/women)
  • Hand/Body Lotion

Baby Kit (0-3 years)

  • Baby Powder/Shampoo
  • Disposable Diapers/Diaper Bag
  • Diaper Rash Ointment
  • Baby Wipes/Q-Tips
  • Child’s Blankets
  • Age Appropriate Toys
  • Bath Toys
  • Baby Bottles
  • Baby oil
  • Thermometer
  • Electric plug covers
  • Bibs

Preschool Age Kids Kit (3-5 years)

  • Pre-School Kids Kit (3-5)
  • Child/Youth Toothbrushes
  • Small Toys/Stuffed Animals
  • Child’s themed cups & dishes
  • Sippy Cups
  • Beginner Books
  • Coloring Books/crayons
  • Age Appropriate Games
  • Night Lights
  • Hair Clips

Catholic Charities also accepts donations of large furniture items; call 813-631-4370 to arrange for pick up at your home.

Catholic Charities Drop-off Locations

Hillsborough County:
Tampa Center
2021 East Busch Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33612
Open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Pinellas County:
Jeff Forbes Center
1213 16th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33705
Open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Pasco, Hernando & Citrus Counties:
8370 Forest Oaks Blvd.
Spring Hill, FL 34606
Open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday

Photo credit: Antonio Fantasia/Caritas

8th Annual Tampa Bay Men’s Conference

Calling All Men – want to be inspired, reinvigorated, and uplifted? Does your faith life need a boost?

Join over a thousand other Catholic men, at all levels of faith, from parishes throughout the diocese as they gather to revitalize their spirits at the Suncoast Catholic Ministries’ 8th Annual Tampa Bay Men’s Conference on February 10, 2018!

The program includes Mass, Reconciliation, and Benediction. It is open to married, single and divorced men including fathers, teenage sons, and grandfathers – whatever their level of faith, or whatever their faith belief.

For more information and to register, visit:

Bishop Parkes Celebrates One Year as Fifth Bishop of St. Petersburg

On January 4, 2018, Bishop Gregory Parkes celebrated the one year anniversary of being installed as the fifth Bishop of St. Petersburg. We invite you to send well wishes to Bishop Parkes on any of his social media accounts – Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or via email to

This video has highlights from his first year and his many pastoral visits to local parishes and schools.

Look back on photos and videos from that exciting day below.

Bishop Parkes’ Installation Homily (PDF)


Installation Mass Video Part 1

Installation Mass Video Part 2

Vespers Prayer Service (Tuesday, January 3, 2017) Video

What To Do When the Fourth Sunday of Advent and Christmas Eve both Fall on December 24?

Because Catholics participate in Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, some are wondering whether a Sunday evening Mass on Christmas Eve would fulfill both the obligation for a Sunday Mass and the obligation for a Christmas Day Mass. The U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Divine Worship has said the faithful should participate in two Masses, once for the 4th Sunday of Advent and once for Christmas. This means that the Sunday obligation for Dec. 24 can be fulfilled on Sunday, or any time after 4 p.m. on Dec. 23, and the Christmas Mass obligation can be fulfilled on Monday, or any time after 4 p.m. on Dec. 24.

Be sure to check the special Christmas Weekend Mass times at your parish! Click here to find a parish near you.


Faith Leaders Affirm the Inherent Beauty and Dignity of Being Created Male or Female

December 15, 2017 – Following the USCCB General Assembly in November 2017, a group of ecumenical and interfaith partners gathered with bishops of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage to discuss gender ideology. As a result of this discussion, faith leaders today issued an open letter entitled “Created Male and Female”.

Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap. of Philadelphia, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, Bishop James Conley of Lincoln, chairman of the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, chairman of the Committee for Religious Liberty, and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera of Scranton, chairman of the Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs signed the letter.

“We hope this letter communicates to the public our shared understanding of the goodness of the creation of humanity as male or female and underscores our commitment to service of this truth with both clarity and compassion,” said Bishop Conley.

The religious leaders stressed the importance of acknowledging the reality of sexual identity, noting, “Children especially are harmed when they are told that they can ‘change’ their sex or, further, given hormones that will affect their development and possibly render them infertile as adults. Parents deserve better guidance on these important decisions, and we urge our medical institutions to honor the basic medical principle of ‘first, do no harm.'”

The leaders close with a hope: “We hope for renewed appreciation of the beauty of sexual difference in our culture and for authentic support of those who experience conflict with their God-given sexual identity.”

The letter is available at: here and follows three previous open letters: “The Protection of Marriage: A Shared Commitment,” issued December 6, 2010, “Marriage and Religious Freedom: Fundamental Goods That Stand or Fall Together,” issued January 12, 2012, and “The Defense of Marriage and the Right of Religious Freedom: Reaffirming a Shared Witness,” issued on April 23, 2015, which are available at here.

Helping Migrants and Immigrants During Advent

There is much work to be done between now and Christmas to protect Dreamers and help ensure humane treatment for all immigrants and refugees.

Please consider participating in some important actions during the season of Advent:

Our Lady of Guadalupe – December 12, 2017

On December 12, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This provides us an opportunity to honor Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Patroness of the Americas, and pray for the protection of migrants who are making long and dangerous journeys.

Justice for Immigrants Resources
To honor this day, JFI has created a resource page where you will find some useful background information, Share the Journey Advent materials, and prayer resources that you can use in your own celebration. We urge you to utilize and share our backgrounder on Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is available in English and Spanish on the resource page.

Celebrating Our Lady of Guadalupe Nationally
In an effort to lift up the various Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrations around the country, we have created a map that will help these events. Please be sure to join your local community in celebration if you are in the area. Let us know if there is an event in your community that is not currently posted, so that we can post it to the map. To do so, please email


Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8

The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is Friday, December 8, 2017. It is a holy day of obligation. Please check with your parish for Mass times (you can search for parishes around the diocese here).

On this day, we commemorate that from the moment of her conception, the Blessed Virgin Mary was in a state of grace and free from all original sin. The Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception is also the patronal feast day of the United States of America.