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 | By Keishla Espinal

Eight Men Say ‘Yes' to God’s Invitation

October 18, 2023 | The Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle was filled with joy as people came together to celebrate the ordination of eight new deacons for the Diocese of St. Petersburg on Saturday, October 14, 2023.

Bishop Parkes said during his homily, “Today is a day of joy for the Diocese of St. Petersburg, as we call these eight men, our brothers, to the diaconate. They come from a variety of professions, and their journey here today has taken various paths. They have been called by God to serve you, his people. Always remember to support them, and to pray for them as they seek to fulfill God's calling.”

With over 800 people present and family members coming from various parts of the country to witness this important step of faith in the life of eight new deacons, it was a day of glory.

“Your ‘yes’ to serving God as a deacon is, of course, a response to the invitation that he first extended to you to serve Him and His people with humility and charity,” said Bishop Parkes. “Know that we are grateful for your ‘yes’ to God's call and that our prayers are with you.”

One of the key moments during the Mass was when the eight men to be ordained lay face down on the Cathedral floor as a prayer for the intercession of saints was chanted by the choir and congregation. This gesture symbolizes their unworthiness for the calling these men have received and their dependence upon God and the prayers of the Christian community.

The newly ordained deacons were then clothed in their liturgical garments and one by one, they knelt before the Bishop and received a Book of the Gospels to keep and use within their ministry.

Bishop Parkes reminded the eight men, “Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”


Meet Our Eight Newest Deacons

Paul Benfanti, St. Paul, St. Petersburg

John Gerdes, Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle

Charles Glass, St. Paul, Tampa

Joseph Grimaudo, Our Lady of the Rosary, Land O’ Lakes

Michael Hurst, St. Clement, Plant City

Scott Moore, Our Lady of Lourdes, Dunedin

Shawn Ryan, St. Stephen, Riverview

William Stephen, St. Paul, Tampa


To read more about each newly ordained deacon, click on this link.


To view more photos from the Mass, click on the arrows below.


Diaconate Ordination Mass 2023