Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I realize that for many of you, Saturday evening and Sunday are times when you would normally go to your local parish for Mass. Unfortunately, as we know, these days are anything but normal. However, as your bishop, I want to assure you of a few things.
First, even though we may not be able to publicly come together for worship at this time, know that the Lord is always with you. He told us this as we read in Matthew, Chapter 28, Verse 20, where Jesus says, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” We are never truly alone. Our Lord loves you and is with you during this challenging time.
Second, the Lord’s Day, and each day for that matter, provide us with an opportunity to come together with others for prayer. Again, Jesus tells us in Matthew, Chapter 18, Verse 20, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” And if you live alone, there are opportunities to connect with others through social media, on television, or on Spirit FM or Relevant radio here in our diocese. Information on these can be found at our website DOSP.org.
Finally, we should never underestimate the power of prayer. Jesus tells us in John, Chapter 14, verse 13, “And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” As Catholics we have such a rich treasury of prayers to draw upon. I encourage you to pray the rosary, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, novenas, and to offer personal prayers to God each day from the heart.
Please know that as your bishop, that I’m praying for you and your intentions in my daily celebration of the Mass and in my personal prayers. Let us pray for one another during this time of crisis, and may we remain strong and courageous in our faith. May God bless you!
Most Reverend Gregory L. Parkes
Bishop of St. Petersburg