All posts by Maria

2017 St. Jude Medal Awards

Congratulations to all of the 2017 recipients of the St. Jude Medal Award! Every year, the St. Jude the Apostle Medal is presented by our bishop to a lay member of each of our parishes for distinguished and outstanding service. Whether it’s running the food pantry at their parish or visiting the sick, these men and women share the love of Christ in many visible ways. Some of the honorees lead their parish music ministry or are dedicated catechists; some are liturgical coordinators or organize the weekly fish fry. Whatever the humble offerings they provide, they exemplify gratefulness to God’s blessings in their service to his people.

Bishop Gregory Parkes will present the awards during Evening Prayer on Sunday, November 19, 2017, at 3:00 p.m. at St. Jude the Apostle Cathedral. See the list of the 2017 recipients here.

If you cannot attend this liturgy in person, you can watch the live video stream at the link below or listen live on Spirit FM 90.5 (online at

Live Video Stream (starts at 3:00 p.m.)

Photos from the event will be shared as soon as we receive them from the photographer.

About the St. Jude Medal

The St. Jude the Apostle Medal was commissioned for the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 1999 at the request of Most Reverend Robert N. Lynch, fourth Bishop of St. Petersburg. The famous Enrico Manfrini of Milan, Italy designed the medal and it was cast by the Senesi Foundry of Milan with the Diocesan Coat of Arms and the image of St. Jude the Apostle, Patron of this diocese. The medal is given each year in the Diocese of St. Petersburg as a way to recognize those persons showing distinguished and outstanding service to their parish.

This medal acknowledges the great gift of the Church, its people, exemplified in these individuals who in their generosity and love of their faith have greatly contributed to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their parish.

About Evening Prayer

Evening Prayer is a part of the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours. Christians of the first four centuries would have been as familiar with this liturgical prayer form as they were with Sunday Eucharist because they framed their day with prayer.

The “hinges” of the Liturgy of the Hours are Morning and Evening Prayer. During Morning Prayer, we dedicate the day to the Lord and ask that our work, and the work of the Church, is blessed so that we become leaven for the world. In Evening Prayer, we thank God for the gift of light (i.e., Christ our Light) and we make petition for divine protection during the night.

With its rich use of the Scriptures (psalms, canticles, and readings), prayers of intercession, symbols and gestures, the Liturgy of the Hours deepens our appreciation for the rich tradition that is our Catholic faith.

Execution Scheduled for November 8, 2017

Patrick Hannon is scheduled to be executed Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at 6:00 p.m. for the 1991 murders of Brandon Snider and Robert Carter.

In a November 6 letter on behalf of the bishops of Florida, Michael Sheedy, executive director, appealed to Governor Scott to commute Hannon’s death sentence to a life sentence without parole. “The victims, their families and our community have been terribly wronged. Indeed, Mr. Hannon’s violent acts call out for justice and should be condemned,” said Sheedy. “However, a life sentence without parole is an alternative and a severe sentence. It is not necessary to execute Mr. Hannon to keep society safe from him and to punish him, so we urge you to implement this non-lethal punishment and commute his sentence to life without the possibility of parole.”

Our faith’s perspective on crime and punishment is grounded in mercy and healing, not vengeance and violence. Even those who have committed terrible deeds and caused great pain possess a God-given dignity that is neither earned nor can it be forfeited. No matter how heinous the crime, if society can protect itself without ending a human life, it should do so.
Prayer Opportunities in our Diocese
Please join us to pray for the condemned, his victims and their families. We also pray for all of the victims of violent crimes and their families, for people on death row awaiting execution, and for the end of the use of the death penalty.
– St. Vincent de Paul Parish (4843 Mile Stretch Drive, Holiday) on Wednesday, November 8 at 5:00 p.m.
– Our Lady of Fatima Parish (550 U.S. Hwy 41 South, Inverness) on Wednesday, November 8, at 5:30 p.m. in room 204.
– Spirit FM 90.5 WBVM Tampa will be praying on air, Wednesday, November 8, 5:50 p.m. Spirit FM is also available on the internet (
Contact Governor Scott:
Please send a message to Governor Scott urging him to commute Patrick Hannon’s death sentence to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole and to stop signing death warrants. Click here to send your message through the Voter Voice Network.

President Of U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Responds To Mass Shooting In Texas

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N DiNardo, of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement in response to today’s mass shooting during a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“Earlier today, we heard of the mass shooting at the Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.  With Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, I extend my prayers and the prayers of my brother bishops for the victims, the families, the first responders, our Baptist brothers and sisters, indeed the whole community of Sutherland Springs. We stand in unity with you in this time of terrible tragedy—as you stand on holy ground, ground marred today by horrific violence.

We ask the Lord for healing of those injured, His loving care of those who have died and the consolation of their families.

This incomprehensibly tragic event joins an ever-growing list of mass shootings, some of which were also at Churches while people were worshipping and at prayer.  We must come to the firm determination that there is a fundamental problem in our society. A Culture of Life cannot tolerate, and must prevent, senseless gun violence in all its forms. May the Lord, who Himself is Peace, send us His Spirit of charity and nonviolence to nurture His peace among us all.”

Saint Leo Makes A Difference On Campus and Off

Volunteers from across the nation, including those from Saint Leo University, observed Make A Difference Day on October 28. University Campus hosted a day of community service with volunteer opportunities offered on campus and off.

“Saint Leo University participates in Make A Difference Day to demonstrate our core values of community and responsible stewardship,” said Krystal Sanchez, assistant director of Greek Life and Community Engagement for Student Activities. “Our students, faculty, and staff are always energized to create positive change by donating their time and talents to our nonprofit partners in the area. This past Saturday was no different.”

At University Campus, volunteers could choose from helping with projects for Caps of Love, Feeding Children Everywhere, Metropolitan Ministries, and Saint Leo’s community garden. Off campus projects included helping with Sunrise of Pasco County’s community garden, YMCA of Pasco County in West Pasco County, FL; Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore in Zephyrhills, FL; Hurricane Irma relief with Catholic Charities; and outdoor projects with the Benedictine Sisters of Florida in St. Leo, FL.

The goal was for students, faculty, and staff to engage with community partners on various projects. The participating nonprofits represented a wide range of social issues including hunger and homelessness, environmental issues, education, and disability services.

Saint Leo was well-represented with more than 275 volunteers taking part in Make A Difference Day.

At University Campus, students sorted various plastic bottle caps and lids for the Caps of Love project, sponsored by the Office of Residence Life. The plastic caps are recycled and funds raised from the recycling are used to purchase or refurbish wheelchairs for children with mobility issues. In 2016-2017, Saint Leo collected 12,000 pounds of plastic caps—enough to fill 21 pallets. The funds raised were used to purchase a new wheelchair, which was presented in July to Michael Ledford, a fourth-grader at West Zephyrhills Elementary School.

Saint Leo volunteers also donned hairnets and formed assembly lines to package food for Feeding Children Everywhere. Volunteers scooped and poured lentils, white rice, dehydrated vegetables, and pink Himalayan salt forming jambalaya mixes. The organization is committed to providing healthy meals to children and families around the world.

In addition, helpers shoveled mulch, picked up sticks and weeds, and more at the university’s community garden.

“Make A Difference Day shows that anyone, no matter of age or background, can make an impact on their community,” states the website for the national Make A Difference Day. “Thousands of projects take place every October. Some large, many small. But each effort makes an important difference to our communities.”

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving more than 13,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 90,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.

Bishop Parkes Seeks to Form a Common Vision for the Diocese of St. Petersburg

During the past 10 months, Bishop Gregory Parkes has been listening to many people in an effort to learn about the people, parishes and schools entrusted to his care. Shortly after his installation as fifth Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, he began inviting the community to listening sessions. He took part in nine official listening sessions throughout our five counties. He has also taken part in numerous meetings and gatherings where he has asked the community to share their thoughts on what the Diocese is doing well, what are the most pressing priorities and what the Diocese needs to improve. He has also conducted a survey that resulted in 1,200 responses.

As a continuation of this process of discovery and discernment, Bishop Parkes has announced that a visioning process will begin in December to sort through all of the feedback he has received, as well as the insights that were shared during the National Convocation of Catholic Leaders in July that focused on missionary discipleship. When it’s complete, the hope is to have a mutually shared vision for the Diocese that outlines the most important areas of focus (priorities), benchmarks to accomplish (goals), creative ways to enhance our efforts (strategies) and a schedule of how much time it will take (timeline).

Bishop Parkes has asked Catholic Leadership Institute to facilitate the visioning process, which is expected to take about six months. The process involves prayer, reflection and information sharing. A team of 15 representatives from throughout the Diocese is being assembled to join Bishop Parkes in this process.

“We entrust the visioning process to our Lord. Through prayer and discernment, our Lord will direct our steps and we will place our trust in Him,” said Bishop Parkes, acknowledging that the Holy Spirit will be the source of inspiration as decisions are made.

Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI) was chosen to facilitate because they have a proven record of assisting bishops, priests, deacons and lay persons in the Roman Catholic Church with world-class, pastoral leadership formation and consulting services that renew the life of the Church and enable leaders to articulate a vision for their future. CLI has served the Diocese of St. Petersburg for many years. They have fostered priestly development through the Good Leaders, Good Shepherds program and also trained Pastoral Center employees during the Tending the Talents program that was offered in 2016 to develop the gifts of each employee, strengthen the quality of ministerial relationships and enhance service to parishes.

Remembering Our Loved Ones in November

November is the Month of All Souls, when we remember and pray for those who have died in a special way. We would like to remember the people who were special to you that have died, especially during the last year, with an online photo album.

Please send a photo of this special person with their name and a remembrance of six words or less to The album will be posted on November 2, All Souls’ Day. Photos will be added to the album as they are received throughout November.

Prayer for the Departed


President of U.S. Conference Of Catholic Bishops Responds To Terror Attack In New York City

October 31, 2017

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has issued the following statement in response to this afternoon’s deadly attack on innocent people in Manhattan that has left at least eight people dead.

Cardinal DiNardo’s full statement follows:

“This afternoon we heard of what appears to be a deliberate attack on innocent people in New York City. This horrendous act weighs on all of our hearts. Reports about the attack are too preliminary to understand fully what has happened, but it grieves me deeply that we must again respond to such acts of terror.

To the family and friends of those who have died, please know that you are not alone, and that the prayers of the Bishops and of all the Church are with you and your loved ones. To you and to everyone, I would like to say that the forces of darkness always try to wipe away our hope; but our hope is in the name of the Lord and will always remain firm. Let us remember the words of the Lord to prophet Joshua: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go.”

Celebrating the Solemnity of All Saints

The Solemnity of All Saints is Wednesday, November 2017. It is a holy day of obligation.  Please check with your parish’s bulletin or website for Mass times. Find a listing of parishes in our diocese, searchable by city and zip code, along with contact information, here.

Eight New Deacons

Bishop Parkes ordained eight men to the permanent diaconate on October 7, 2017, at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle. Congratulations to Deacon Eugene Beil, Deacon John Carter, Deacon Ronald Fly, Deacon M. Scott Huang, Deacon Paul Koppie, Deacon Edward LaRose,  Deacon John Schaefer and Deacon John Ustick. Learn more about our new deacons here

Ordination Photos | Ordination Video

Msgr. Joseph Pellegrino Receives Fr. Luis de Cancer Award

October 3, 2017 – Rev. Msgr. Joseph Pellegrino became the 21st recipient of the Father Luis de Cancer Award for Distinguished Priestly Service at the annual Convocation for Priestly Renewal. He was selected by his peers to receive the award in recognition of  his dedicated ministry and service to the faithful and community of the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

Msgr. Joseph Pellegrino has shepherded the parish community of St. Ignatius of Antioch in Tarpon Springs for over 25 years, after having served as founding pastor of St. Matthew Parish in Largo. Msgr. Pellegrino entered the Salesian religious order in New Jersey. After completing his studies, he was ordained a priest on April 16, 1977.

He came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 1979 and was incardinated as a priest of the Diocese in 1982.  He served in three parish assignments until being named the first pastor of the new parish in Largo. Monsignor Pellegrino has carefully guarded and guided Guardian Angels Interparochial Catholic School in Clearwater and has built and staffed an early childhood center in the grounds of St. Ignatius, carrying with him St. John Bosco’s deep dedication to the education and formation of youth. In the past, he has been elected as chair of the Presbyteral Council and is currently serving on the Diocesan Finance Council. In 2016, following the nomination of Bishop Lynch, Pope Francis conferred the honor of Chaplain to His Holiness on Monsignor Joseph Anthony Pellegrino.

Learn more about the establishment of the Fr. Luis de Cancer Award and previous recipients here.

Photo credit: Rev. Carl Melchior