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.
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.
Bishop Parkes succeeds Most Rev. John H. Ricard, SSJ, who retired as bishop of the diocese in March 2011 for reasons of health.