Responding to God’s Extraordinary Call

“Just give it a year.” These are the words that Israel “Izzie” Hernandez clearly heard the Lord speak to him during Eucharistic Adoration the summer after he graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing. “Before I started thinking about priesthood, all I wanted was to find a good …

Drive-thru Confession Offers Mercy and Peace to Parishioners

If Barb Caleca closes her eyes during the Prince of Peace livestreamed Mass and hears the familiar voices of the priests and cantor, she says she can almost imagine being present in the church, in the same pew where she and her husband have sat every week for the last six years. Though grateful for the …

Nurturing the Domestic Church During COVID-19

Susana Caruso has been a parishioner at Our Lady of the Rosary in Land O’ Lakes for 11 years. Since she and her family are unable to physically go to church because of the pandemic, she has embraced the call to nurture the domestic church. What is the domestic church? In a 1995 homily, Pope …

Catholic Schools in the Diocese of St. Petersburg Will be Closed through the End of the 2019-20 Academic Year

In keeping with the directives and guidelines from our government and public health authorities, Bishop Gregory Parkes has directed that all Catholic School and Early Childhood centers will be closed to students through the end of the 2019-20 academic year. All schools will conduct online/virtual learning for the remainder of the academic year. Currently, diocesan …

Church Strengthens Efforts to Protect Children and Vulnerable Populations

In the Diocese of St. Petersburg, the Safe Environment Program Office, which was established in 2003, oversees a comprehensive program of child abuse prevention that is focused on background checks and training of all adults entrusted with the care, responsibility and/or supervision of minors or vulnerable adults. The office was established in compliance with the …

Message About Holy Week and Easter

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, We are living through a difficult time. Many of you have concerns about health, finances, family and even your faith. I know, from the depths of my heart, how difficult it is for you to be separated from the Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our faith. That’s …

Bishop Gregory Parkes to Celebrate Holy Week Liturgies via Livestream

Normally Full Churches will be Empty as Public Gatherings are Restricted to Stop the Spread of COVID-19 Holy Week and Easter celebrations with Bishop Gregory Parkes can be viewed via Livestream, Sunday, April 5 – Saturday, April 12, 2020. These celebrations will be streamed from the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle in St. Petersburg …

Catholic Charities and City of Tampa Open Temporary Homeless Shelter to Aid in the Fight Against Coronavirus Crisis

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St.Petersburg, in partnership with the City of Tampa, opened a shelter (Hillsborough Hope) for homeless residents of Tampa on vacant land owned by Catholic Charities on March 30, 2020. Due to the risk posed by the coronavirus, city officials decided to relocate homeless residents in order to provide the …

Nationwide Service is Launched to Report Sexual Misconduct Involving U.S. Bishops

As part of an ongoing commitment to carry out Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter (Vos estis lux mundi) to address the issue of sexual abuse throughout the Catholic Church, the Catholic Bishop Abuse Reporting Service (CBAR) was established in March 2020 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Individuals may go to ReportBishopAbuse.org in order to …

Catholic Schools Change Spring Break Dates

We are continuing to follow the guidance from the CDC and public health organizations as we make decisions about how best to move forward with regard to the coronavirus (Covid-19). This memo amends the earlier one sent on Friday, March 13 by extending the closure of Catholic Schools through March 27. After prayerful consideration, Bishop …

Diocese of St. Petersburg Catholic Schools will be Closed March 16-20

In an abundance of caution for students, employees and vulnerable populations Bishop Gregory Parkes has directed that all Catholic school and Early Childhood center buildings will be closed to students from Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 20, 2020. March 16-17 had previously been scheduled as days off for students.  Virtual learning will be conducted …

Bishop Gregory Parkes Issues Dispensation for Mass Attendance

Below is a letter distributed by Bishop Gregory Parkes on March 13, 2020, regarding a dispensation for Catholics in the Diocese of St. Petersburg from Universal Ecclesiastical Laws. Click here to view the letter as a PDF. (View Spanish PDF here.) Dear Faithful of the Diocese of St. Petersburg   As your Bishop, in collaboration …

Bishop Parkes Issues New Temporary Directives in Response to Coronavirus Concerns

In light of new concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus and because of our Church’s fervent respect for the dignity and value of human life, Bishop Gregory Parkes has issued three new directives to protect the health and safety of churchgoers in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. (Spanish documents are available in Word or PDF.) Effective …

Parishes Join Efforts for Community Education Project

Mary Andrysiak has been at Sacred Heart Parish for five years and her notion of church has always revolved around her own parish community, until now. She has broadened her understanding of church by serving on a committee for Courageously Living the Gospel. “It’s not just within our own parish that we are called to …

Locals Make the “Courageous Decision” to Become Catholic

More than 1,000 people gathered at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle on March 1 to support friends, family and loved ones who have made the life-changing decision to become Catholic during a 90-minute prayer service known as the Rite of Election. The Church formally recognizes individuals who have been preparing for the Sacraments …

Nourished by the Eucharist, Young Adults Thrive in Faith

Every Friday, young adults from around Tampa Bay gather for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament to spend time with the Lord. These faith-filled Catholics are members of Apostles of the Eucharist, a ministry based out of St. Paul Catholic Church in Tampa. They also gather weekly for snacks, faith sharing, fellowship and formation. Most of …

Local Women Step Out in Faith To Combat Human Trafficking

Mary Palamar has been a champion for anti-human trafficking efforts for over 15 years. Her passion for spreading awareness about the topic, coupled with her courageous faith, drove her to get involved with the Peace and Justice Committee at Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in New Port Richey. The ministry developed because of a …

Catholic Charities Courageously Cares for People with Nowhere Else to Turn

Nothing stops Sister Sara Proctor from providing medical care to the poor of our community in the rural areas of Hillsborough and Pasco Counties. As the Program Coordinator for Catholic Charities Free Medical Clinics, she oversees four clinics that are focused on serving agricultural and seasonal workers who have severe challenges in obtaining the health …

Holy Family’s Example Inspires Families Today

Dolores Mottle was moved to tears when she saw the new Holy Family statue at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Homosassa. The five-foot fiberglass statue arrived on January 7th as a shipment from Italy. It was donated by Dolores as a gift to the parish in loving memory of her husband Edward who passed …

Diocese of St. Petersburg Issues a Faithful Response to Coronavirus (March 3, 2020)

In response to recent concerns over the spread of Coronavirus, the Diocese of St. Petersburg has prepared guidelines for parishes, schools and families to help our communities to take the necessary steps for the safety of all. Our response is focused on prevention, precautions and prayer. Many of these guidelines are based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention …

Bishop Parkes Brings a Message of Hope from Pope Francis

On February 13, 2020, Bishop Gregory Parkes participated in a meeting with Pope Francis, Successor of St. Peter, at the Vatican. The meeting was part of a regularly scheduled Ad Limina visit to provide the Holy Father an update on the Diocese of St. Petersburg and to connect on a personal level. “He was very, …

Bishop Parkes: “Let’s stretch the limits of what we can accomplish.”

In a large ballroom at the Hilton Downtown Tampa, 500 of the faithful of the Diocese of St. Petersburg gathered to bring ministry to life with their presence, prayers and generosity. Long viewed as the signature event of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, the 16th Annual Catholic Foundation Gala on February 1, 2020 inspired attendees …

Bishop Parkes to Visit Pope Francis Next Week

(Photo above shows Bishop Gregory Parkes greeting Pope Francis in May of 2014 after the Holy Father’s General Audience in St. Peter’s Square. Bishop Parkes was in Rome with seminary classmates to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood.) During the week of February 9-15, 2020, Most Reverend Gregory Parkes, Bishop of …

New Young Adult Ministry in St. Petersburg Mixes Faith and Friendship

A new group in St. Petersburg is providing opportunities for local young adults to stay connected to the Church and each other. In the past few months, they have hosted an All Saint’s Day bonfire, an Advent Young Adult Mission, Meals After Mass, and other monthly events where young people gather in fellowship and prayer. …

Youth Courageously Stand Up for Life

When Liv, a freshman at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School, attended the National March for Life in Washington D.C. last year, she saw something that she will never forget.  “At the March, people were showing images of babies after a failed abortion and that really opened my eyes,” said Liv. “It showed me what world …

USF St. Pete Has a New Catholic Presence

College Freshman Eric Bright has only been Catholic about a month but he’s already showing others what it means to have courageous faith. He is currently serving as president of the newly established Catholic Bulls Club at USF’s St. Pete Campus. USF in Tampa has had a Catholic Campus Ministry for over 50 years and …

St. Paul Parish Announces New Outreach to Address Childhood Hunger in St. Petersburg

Thousands of children in Pinellas County go to bed hungry each night.  One St. Petersburg parish is on a mission to change that.  In their efforts to Courageously Live the Gospel, parishioners and staff have identified food insecurity for teens and children as a need that has to be addressed.  A local government agency, the …

Suzanne Healy Named Chair of U.S. Bishops’ National Review Board

WASHINGTON – Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has appointed Mrs. Suzanne Healy, the former Victims Assistance Coordinator for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as the next chair of the National Review Board (NRB). Mrs. Healy succeeds Francesco C. Cesareo, Ph.D., who concludes his term …

New Video Series Inspires Catholics to be Ambassadors for Christ

The Diocese of St. Petersburg Office of Communications has produced a video series to help local churches equip individuals as missionary disciples, one of the goals of Courageously Living the Gospel. The video series begins with an introduction by Bishop Gregory Parkes sharing information on evangelization. All Catholics are called by their baptism to be …

National March for Life is on January 24

The Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry of the Diocese of St. Petersburg is leading a pilgrimage of nearly 300 participants to the National March for Life on Friday, January 24th at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. There are 13 schools and parishes represented in this contingency. The National March for Life is …

Catholic School Update from Our Superintendent

There are 47 Catholic Schools and Early Childhood Centers in the Diocese of St. Petersburg that provide Catholic education to nearly 13,000 students in the counties of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, and Citrus. While proudly Catholic, we welcome students of all faiths. These students shine year-round, but one week each year is devoted to highlighting …

10th Annual Tampa Bay Men’s Conference: Get Inspired, Informed, and Energized

Join a thousand other Catholic men from parishes around West Central Florida for a day of prayer, reconciliation, learning and fellowship! This conference will feature two dynamic, nationally-known speakers: DR. TIM GRAY: President of the Augustine Institute, plus, PETER HERBECK: TV/radio host, author and vice president of Renewal Ministries. Seize the opportunity to learn more …

New Youth Ministry is Helping Teens and Leaders Stay Grounded in Faith

Five years ago, Kristine Johnson returned to the Catholic Church after close to thirty years away. After taking classes to refresh her memory on Church teaching, she became a volunteer catechist. Now, she’s volunteering to lead Youth Ministry at St. Rita Parish in Dade City, which is a brand new initiative. In her work with …

Husband and Wife Volunteer with Ten Ministries, Guided by the Holy Spirit

When Oscar and Ximena Calabi moved to Clearwater in 2010, they found a spiritual home at Light of Christ Parish in Clearwater. Today, the Calabis are involved in ten ministries at their parish strengthened by amazing grace! They are answering the call to Courageously Live the Gospel by using their gifts to serve as missionary …

Saint Mary Our Lady of Grace Celebrates 100th Anniversary

A well-known landmark in downtown St. Petersburg, Saint Mary Our Lady of Grace Parish, is turning 100 this year! This parish was the first to be established in St. Petersburg in 1920. Before that, priests from Tampa crossed the bay by boat to celebrate Sunday Mass at a local hotel. “We’re known as the Mother …

Serving at Church is a Family Priority

Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish in New Port Richey has been a part of Richard Bekesh’s life for as long as he can remember. He grew up attending Sunday Mass there with his parents, played baseball on the field where the educational center stands today and attended religious education classes as a young boy. …

Retired Principal Impacts Many Lives with Her Generosity and Faith

Janice Metz of St. Cecelia Parish in Clearwater is leading by example. She believes that the Church must proactively invite all to encounter the love and mercy of Jesus Christ and offer a warm welcome. “It is so important to look for opportunities to invite people to our Church and really make them welcome,” said …

Margaret Rogers Named New Catholic Charities Executive Director

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Petersburg President, Frank Murphy and the Board of Trustees are pleased to announce that Margaret (Maggie) Rogers has been appointed by Bishop Gregory L. Parkes to Executive Director effective December 13, 2019. She has served as Interim Executive Director since September 2018. Maggie joined Catholic Charities in 2013 …

2020 World Day of Communications

“So that you can tell your son and grandson.” Life creates history. This is the theme chosen by Pope Francis for the 54th World Day of Social Communications, which will be celebrated on May 24, 2020, the Sunday before Pentecost. The message will be published on January 24, 2020 (memorial of St. Francis of Sales). …

Catholic Student Union at USF Celebrates Faith and Accomplishments of Seniors

On Sunday, November 24, 2019, the Catholic Student Union at the University of South Florida (USF) celebrated a Baccalaureate Mass to honor and bless the Fall graduates of the university! Five Catholic graduates were recognized during the Mass celebrated by Father Joshua Dyachim. Father Justin Paskert, Director of the Catholic Student Union, concelebrated the Mass. …

Local Parish is Equipping Missionary Disciples – One Faith Story at a Time

Equipping parishioners as missionary disciples is a major goal of Courageously Living the Gospel. To support this effort, St. Anne Parish in Ruskin launched a pilot program in the Fall of 2019 to teach people about sharing their personal faith stories, the type of encounter that moves hearts and leads people to Christ. The program …

Pinellas Hope Celebrates New Hope Cottages and Hunger Heroes

In recognition of those who work tirelessly to end poverty, hunger and homelessness, Bishop Gregory Parkes of the Diocese of St. Petersburg shared a meal with the homeless residents of Pinellas Hope while honoring the volunteers who prepare and serve them meals.   He also blessed 20 new Hope Cottages™ that will provide shelter and security …

Personal Invitation Leads to Transformational Faith

Richard Quinton believes strongly in the power of personal invitation. When he arrived at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Holiday eight years ago, another parishioner approached him about becoming an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion. Quinton agreed and has been serving in that role ever since. For the last year and a half, Quinton …

Growing Youth Ministry Helps Teens Boldly Live their Faith

In less than a year, the youth ministry at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Hudson has grown five times larger, going from an average of five teens each week to twenty-five. This is thanks in part to the efforts of youth minister Vincent Washburn who took over the program in December 2018. Washburn has …

Local Church Launches Unique Evangelization Efforts

For more than 40 years, the Sacred Heart Fall Festival in Pinellas Park has been a local tradition enjoyed by residents near and far. This year, Father Kevin Yarnell also wanted to share the Catholic faith with festgoers. “Thousands from Pinellas Park and the surrounding area attend one or more days of the Festival to …

Catholics Learn the Steps of Evangelization

As parishes throughout the Diocese of St. Petersburg seek to fulfill the goal of equipping individuals as missionary disciples, the Office of Evangelization held a workshop to train parish leaders on the “Call and Steps of Evangelization.” “We are all called to be evangelizers and we all know people we can reach,” said Jim Kissane, …

Dec. 7-8 Collection Helps Religious Communities Care for Aging Members

The annual Retirement Fund for Religious collection will be held Dec. 7-8 in the Diocese of St. Petersburg. The parish-based appeal is coordinated by the National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO), and proceeds help hundreds of U.S. religious communities to care for aging members. Some 30,000 senior Catholic sisters, brothers and religious order priests benefit. Last …

Tampa Women Steps Outside Her Comfort Zone to Live the Gospel Courageously

After many years away from the Church, Angie Ducker returned to the faith renewed and eager to be a more faithful, dedicated follower of Jesus. What she didn’t expect was the invitation to become a leader. Initially hesitant, Ducker answered the call to head up Sacred Heart Parish’s Eucharistic Ministry at Tampa General Hospital. She …

“Unplanned” Movie Inspires New Ministry at Christ the King Parish

Ashley Russell has always been pro-life, but after having a baby she became even more aware of how fragile and beautiful life is in the early stages. “Having my own children and seeing those sonograms at six weeks got me thinking about how can I make a difference and how can I make sure that …

The Heart of Hospitality Workshop Highlights the Importance of Welcoming and Inviting

Pam Popson trains hospitality ministers at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Dunedin and she views her volunteer “work” as essential to the mission of the Church. “Everyone wants to feel loved and accepted. It’s the greeter’s job to welcome people so they can come to know God’s love and share it with others,” said …