Most Rev. Gregory L. Parkes Ordained and Installed as Fifth Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
Most Reverend Gregory L. Parkes was ordained a bishop and installed as the fifth Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee in a solemn Mass at St. Paul Catholic Church in Pensacola on June 5, 2012.
Bishop Parkes was ordained by Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, as the principal consecrator in the majestic Rite of Ordination of a Bishop. Bishop Felipe J. Estévez, Bishop of Saint Augustine, and Bishop John Noonan, Bishop of Orlando, were co-consecrators. All the concelebrating archbishops and bishops then followed suit, laying their hands upon the head of the new bishop in the gesture of ordination. Among those bishops consecrating Bishop Parkes were Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, emeritus of the diocese, and Bishop Martin D. Holley, auxiliary bishop of Washington, a native of our diocese.
Following the laying on of hands, Bishop Parkes was charged to faithfully proclaim the Gospel, during which two deacons held the Book of Gospels over his head. Then his head was anointed with Sacred Chrism, a holy oil that is used as a sign of the Bishop’s distinctive share in the priesthood of Christ, the head of the Church. Sacred Chrism is consecrated each year at the Chrism Mass, which is celebrated near the end of Lent. It is used for baptisms, confirmations, ordinations of priests and bishops, and the dedication of altars and churches.
After the anointing, the newly-ordained Bishop Parkes received the symbols representing the office of bishop. The Book of the Gospels was presented as a symbol of the bishop’s ministry of preaching and teaching. Archbishop Wenski placed the episcopal ring on the new bishop’s finger as a sign of fidelity to love and protect the bride of God, the Church. He was then invested with the miter (a tall pointed hat with peaks in front and back which appears to have its origin as a head ornament for bishops in the form of a wreathe or a crown.) The prayer accompanying the placement of the miter is that “when the chief shepherd appears you may deserve to receive from him an unfading crown of glory.”
Finally he received the crosier, a shepherd’s crook, the sign of his pastoral office, and was admonished to “keep watch over the flock in which the Holy Spirit has placed you as Bishop.”
Bishop Parkes then took his place at the Cathedra, the chair which represents the bishop’s teaching authority and from which his church, the Cathedral, takes its name. The Cathedra had been brought from the Cathedral for this purpose.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Bishop Parkes processed throughout the church, blessing all those in attendance.
Our Bishop Emeritus
Most Rev. John H. Ricard was born February 29, 1940, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and upon completion of high school entered the Josephite College Seminary in Newburgh, New York. He completed his theological training at St. Joseph Seminary in Washington, D.C., and was ordained to the priesthood on May 25, 1968, a member of the St. Joseph’s Society of the Sacred Heart (S.S.J.). After ordination, Bishop Ricard conti
nued his studies, earning a master’s degree from Tulane University in New Orleans in 1970 and a doctoral degree from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., in 1984. He served as a priest in the Archdiocese of Washington from the time of his ordination to the priesthood until he was named auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.
Bishop Ricard moved to Pensacola from the Archdiocese of Baltimore where he served as auxiliary bishop from the time of his ordination as a bishop on July 2, 1984.
In addition to serving as the shepherd for the diocese’s Catholics, Bishop Ricard has served in national and international roles within the Catholic Church. He traveled on frequent peace-building missions abroad, notably to Bosnia, North Korea and to many of the nations of Africa, as the president and later a board member of Catholic Relief Services (1995 to 2002), the church’s international agency devoted to promoting human development by responding to major emergencies, fighting disease and poverty, and nurturing peaceful and just societies. Bishop Ricard also served as chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace (2002 to 2005). He serves on the board of trustees of the National Black Catholic Congress. He has served as chairman of the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee for the Church in Africa (2006 to 2011).
Bishop Ricard suffered a stroke on Dec. 22, 2009 and had subsequent surgeries to correct complications from the stroke. His retirement due to health reasons was granted by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, on March 11, 2011.