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 | Most Reverend Gregory Parkes Bishop of St. Petersburg

Advent Question: Are we living the way Jesus calls us to live?


View the video or read our bishop’s message below.

Christmas captivates our culture. We are drawn to the traditions, the music and, of course, the decorations that we see earlier and earlier each year. But there’s so much more to this season than twinkling lights! As Catholics, we view the time leading up to Christmas as a time for deep reflection on our lives. Are we living the way Jesus calls us to live? That is the essential question during Advent. Advent is when we prepare for the anniversary of Our Lord’s birth on Christmas and for the second coming of Jesus at the end of time. Are you ready spiritually? Is your heart filled with the love of Christ? Are you moved to share the love of Christ with those who need hope and encouragement?

Like Lent, the liturgical color for Advent is violet, since both are seasons that prepare us for great feast days. Advent includes an element of penance in the sense of preparing, quieting, and disciplining our hearts for the full joy of Christmas.

I invite you to make room in your life and in your heart for Jesus, the reason for the season, who fills us with joy. Keep Advent traditions, such as the Advent wreath and the Advent calendar, alive in your home. If we truly prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord, we will see with eyes of faith the true beauty of Christmas.

May Jesus fill your heart with the gifts of the Advent Season: hope, joy, love and peace.

Most Reverend Gregory L. Parkes is the fifth Bishop of St. Petersburg. To follow Bishop Parkes on social media and to listen to his podcasts, visit