A Day of Joy as Three Priests are Welcomed into the Diocese of St. Petersburg

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Bishop Gregory Parkes said it was “a day of joy” as three men who were ordained outside of the Diocese of St. Petersburg were welcomed as permanent priests of this local Church community. (View Photos Here)

“Today marks a new chapter in the history of our Diocese and also in your priesthood and we thank you so much for your ministry,” said Bishop Parkes.

Father Vijay Polamarasetty reads the Oath of Permanence.

Father Pedro Zapata, Father Vijay Polamarasetty and Monsignor Michael Carruthers gathered with Bishop Parkes and Pastoral Center staff on June 23rd for Daytime Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours, during which the priests indicated their intention to permanently remain presbyters of the Diocese of St. Petersburg. One at a time, each priest placed his hand on the Book of the Gospels while reading and then signing the Oath of Permanence, promising respect and obedience to Bishop Parkes and his successors.  Effective July 1, 2021, the three will officially be incardinated priests of our Diocese.

Monsignor Michael Carruthers signs the Oath of Permanence.

Incardination is a canonical process whereby a priest belonging to a diocese or religious institute is welcomed into the presbyterate of another diocese or religious institute. In the case of diocesan priests, incardination means “to be hinged” to a diocese and to a bishop and reflects a special bond that is formed between the priest who is incardinated and the local bishop/diocese. Incardination provides priests stability in their ministry and the assurance of prayers and support from a diocese.

These priests started their vocation journeys in different places and circumstances but now God has led them to serve here. This new opportunity reflects a long discernment process and an openness to the Holy Spirit.

“Since I was a seminarian, I have had classmates here, I’ve visited here, and I’ve always felt at home here. Now this has become home and that feels very good. I feel blessed and grateful to the Lord,” said Monsignor Carruthers.

During the ceremony, Bishop Parkes offered a reflection and highlighted a Scripture quote from Daytime Prayer: “Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

“I think this quote is true not only for priests and deacons but for all the faithful, all those engaged in ministry. Whatever good we do, whatever ministry we perform, should be in God’s name, an act of thanksgiving and a way to give God glory,” said Bishop Parkes.

About the Newly Incardinated Priests

Msgr. Michael Carruthers (transferring from the Archdiocese of Miami):

  • Ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Miami on May 11, 1991
  • Began serving in the Diocese of St. Petersburg on 7/1/2016
  • Previously served at St. Cecelia Parish, Clearwater
  • Current Assignment: Parochial Administrator, Resurrection Parish, Riverview
  • Next Assignment: Appointed Pastor of St. Lawrence Parish, Tampa, effective 7/1/2021

Father Pedro Zapata (transferring from the Diocese of Orlando):

  • Ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Orlando on June 26, 1999
  • Began serving in the Diocese of St. Petersburg on 7/1/2017
  • Previously served at St. Clement Parish, Plant City
  • Current Assignment:  Parochial Administrator, St. Rita Parish, Dade City

Father Vijay Polamarasetty (transferring from Discalced Carmelite Order, India)

  • Ordained to the priesthood for the Discalced Carmelite Order, India on February 2, 2010
  • Began serving in the Diocese of St. Petersburg on 2/9/2017
  • Previously served at St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish, Tarpon Springs, St. Luke Parish, Palm Harbor
  • Current Assignment: Sacred Heart Parish, Pinellas Park