| By Bishop Gregory Parkes

Called, Commissioned, and Empowered

August 25, 2023 | Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Welcome to Gulf Coast Catholic! This inaugural issue begins a new chapter in the history of our diocese. Publishing a magazine is something that I have thought about for several years. After much prayer, discernment, and consultation, the decision was finally made to move forward with this endeavor. I’m very grateful to our Executive Director of Communications, Teresa Peterson, and her staff for all their hard work in launching this first issue. I am also grateful to our founding partners, our parishes and schools who provided donations to establish this evangelization tool.

What do we hope to accomplish with and through Gulf Coast Catholic? It is my hope that it will be another important resource to help us grow in our own personal faith, and to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to others. The magazine will include stories and features about the good things that are happening in our diocese. It will highlight ministries that truly touch and change people’s lives, help us to grow in the understanding of our faith, and highlight real people with inspirational life experiences.

Through our baptism, each of us is called, commissioned, and empowered to lead others to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ. There are many ways that we can fulfill this missionary call. I would offer that one way would be to share Gulf Coast Catholic with family, friends, and neighbors. One of the advantages of having a printed, in addition to a digital magazine, is that it can be easily given to others to read and enjoy. You never know how this simple gesture might impact another’s life in a positive way.

We welcome your feedback on the magazine. Let us know if there are things you particularly like or find useful. Also let us know if you have any suggestions to improve the magazine via communicate@dosp.org.

This time of year marks many new beginnings. It’s time for back to school and college for our students. Our Faith Formation programs and sacramental preparations begin a new year. Parish ministries, which take some time off during the summer, begin meeting once again. All of these new realities can at times seem overwhelming. Therefore, make sure you take some time each day in prayer, asking God to be with you and to guide and strengthen you through the busyness of daily life. It’s also important to make going to Mass each week a priority. I have often said that Sunday Mass is like bookends that mark the end of one week and the beginning of a new one.

Very soon, we will also celebrate Thanksgiving. While this holiday is more of a national observance rather than a religious one, as people of faith we realize that God is the source of all our blessings, and therefore, it is appropriate to give Him thanks for all his goodness. Know that I give thanks for each of you and for the many blessings that God has bestowed upon our diocese.

Let us remember to lift one another up in prayer. May God’s abundant blessings be with you and your loved ones! 

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Bishop Gregory Parkes

Most Reverend Gregory Parkes was installed Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg on January 4, 2017, at St. Jude the Apostle Cathedral. He believes that serving for God’s glory is the guiding principle of his ministry, which is why, “To your name give the glory” from Psalm 115, is his pastoral motto. He led the development of Courageously Living the Gospel, the diocesan vision that invites all to proclaim the Good News and encounter the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.

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This article appeared in the Fall 2023 issue of Gulf Coast Catholic Magazine.