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MOST REVEREND
STEPHEN D. PARKES

Most Reverend Stephen D. Parkes was appointed the fifteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah by His Holiness Pope Francis on July 8, 2020.

He was consecrated and installed on September 23, 2020 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Most Reverend Stephen D. Parkes was appointed the fifteenth Bishop of the Diocese of Savannah by His Holiness Pope Francis on July 8, 2020. He was consecrated and installed on September 23, 2020 at the Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist, Savannah by Archbishop Gregory John Hartmayer, OFM Conv.

He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration/marketing from the University of South Florida, Tampa and worked in retail and banking before entering St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boyton Beach, Florida in 1992.

Bishop Parkes was ordained a Priest of the Diocese of Orlando on May 23, 1998 at St. James Cathedral, Orlando by Bishop Norbert Dorsey, C.P. His first assignment in the diocese was Parochial Vicar of Annunciation Catholic Church in Altamonte Springs where he served until 2005. In 2004, he was appointed to lead campus ministry at the University of Central Florida, the second-largest university in the United States. He continued in this ministry until 2011, simultaneously serving as Parochial Administrator for a new parish (Most Precious Blood Catholic Church, Oviedo) that grew in its first years from 200 to 2000 families. Then-Bishop Thomas Wenski appointed Parkes as dean of the North Central Deanery in 2008. In 2011, he returned to Annunciation Catholic Church and was Pastor there until his appointment as Bishop of Savannah in 2020.

Born in 1965, Bishop Parkes grew up in Massapequa, Long Island, New York, the third son of Ronald and Joan Parkes. His parents and eldest brother Christopher are deceased. His brother Gregory, also a Priest, was installed as Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2017. They are the 11th pair of brother-Bishops in the history of the Catholic Church in the United States.

In his personal time, Bishop Parkes enjoys the outdoors: long bicycle rides, kayak excursions, hiking trips and traveling with his brother Bishop.

Sacramental History

  • Born
    June 2, 1965
    Third Son of Ronald and Joan Parkes
    Mineola, New York
  • Baptized
    June 20, 1965
    St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
    Massapequa, New York
  • First Holy Communion
    May 5, 1973
    St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church
    Syosset, New York
  • Confirmed
    October 21, 1978
    St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
    Massapequa, New York
  • Ordained to the Diaconate
    April 12, 1997
    Cathedral of St. James
    Orlando, Florida
  • Ordained to the Priesthood
    May 23, 1998
    Cathedral of St. James
    Orlando, Florida
  • Ordained to the Episcopate
    September 23, 2020
    Cathedral Basilica of St. John the Baptist
    Savannah, Georgia

COAT OF ARMS

  • Motto
    Gaudete in Domino Semper – Rejoice in the Lord always!
    Philippians 4: 4
  • Blazon

    Azure, between a palm frond proper on a bar argent, in chief a fleur-de-lis of the last and in base the Agnus Dei proper. (Agnus Dei blazon: a lamb passant argent nimbed or with a cross pateé gules, and bearing a standard argent a cross gules.)

  • Meaning

    A bishop's coat of arms is distinguished by a sign of his rank. That sign, placed over a shield, is a version of an ecclesiastical hat that was worn in processions as late as 1870. By heraldic tradition, the coat of arms includes the arms of the bishop and the arms of his jurisdiction, in this case the Diocese of Savannah, represented on the left side of the shield.

    The Lamb of God at the base of the shield recognizes the centrality of the Eucharist in both the life of the Church and Bishop Parkes. The Lamb is carrying the flag of victory (over death) which gives hope for the future. It also points to John the Baptist, patron of the Diocese of Savannah, who introduced Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

    The fleur-de-lis at the top of the shield shows the Bishop's personal devotion to the Blessed Mother. He served 16 of his 22 years of priestly ministry at Annunciation Catholic Church in the Diocese of Orlando, where Mary is their patron saint. The fleur-de-lis is also on the coat of arms for the Diocese of Orlando, for whom he was ordained a priest in 1998.

    The final component of the Bishop's shield is the palm frond across the middle. This honors St. Stephen, who is both the patron of the Bishop and honors the date of his parents' reception of the sacrament of matrimony on December 26, the Feast of St. Stephen. The palm itself is a symbol of martyrdom, hence used to represent St. Stephen, the first martyr for the Church.

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