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 | Brittany DeHaan

Empowered to Lead

Newly commissioned ministers are essential to each parish and our mission to share the Gospel.

Catholics who feel called to go deeper in their faith and serve in ministry were recognized by Bishop Gregory Parkes during a Commissioning Ceremony and Evening Prayer Service at the Cathedral of St. Jude the Apostle on July 2, 2024.

These individuals have graduated from the Lay Pastoral Ministry Institute (LPMI) or advanced in their studies with the Southeast Pastoral Institute (SEPI). These programs help Catholics to grow in faith and knowledge.

“Ministry is all about leadership and how you can best serve God’s people. I learned a lot about being in a place where I can be used by God–it’s an incredible honor to feed and nourish his people,” said Beth Loomis, one of the LPMI graduates. “LPMI takes you down to those very deep layers of your faith. It’s been an incredible experience.”

Bishop Parkes noted that participants are being equipped for discipleship and leadership.

“Each has been called to different ministries in roles of service for the faithful to build up the body of Christ. That's what your commissioning is about this evening–to take what you have received and to put it at the service of Christ and His Church to build up His body,” said Bishop Gregory Parkes.

Five individuals graduated from LPMI and twelve completed the first level of SEPI.

The LPMI program is a four-year formation program that consists of a year of discernment followed by three years of human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation. This program provides tools and development so that they can succeed in parish ministry.

The SEPI program is a two-year educational and service program that develops and trains individuals to be leaders in the faith with the integration of the Hispanic community. This program consists of classes of theological teaching and pastoral leadership.

Dale Brown, Director of Lay Ministry Formation has the privilege to walk with both the LPMI and SEPI students through the entirety of their journeys.

“Being a part of these programs has been a great responsibility. But more importantly, it has been a great honor and pleasure to accompany the participants through this journey of growth,” said Brown.

Not only does she see a growth of knowledge, but a change in the participants.

“These programs give them the opportunity to not only learn more about the Church and ministry, but to learn about themselves. While the academics are important, the pastoral growth is essential to be effective evangelizers,” she added.

Bishop Parkes expressed his gratitude to those graduates who are now prepared to serve others in the diocese.

“As your bishop, know that I am very proud of each of you here this evening. I give thanks for you, and I just assure you not only of my gratitude, but of my prayers and blessings as you go forth from here to continue the work that God has called you to engage in. A night like tonight celebrates your accomplishments, but also, we look forward with great anticipation to the future and how God will continue to use them in service to his church and to his people.”


Those who completed level 1 of SEPI were Otilia Godinez and Ana Jahuey from St. Cecelia Parish, Elvira Hernandez from Most Holy Redeemer Parish, Esteban Hernandez Gomez and Claudia Lopez Diaz from St. Paul Parish - Tampa, Maria Hernandez and Maria Pulido from Nativity Parish, Alejandro Jacob from St. Mary Parish - Tampa, Pedro Ojeda from Holy Cross Parish, Mario Panjoj from St. Rita Parish, and Diana Solarte and Fernando Zarazua from Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish.

Graduates from this year’s LPMI class were Sylvia Arevalo from St. Clement Parish, Anne Costantino and Elizabeth Loomis from Espiritu Santo, Kevin Curran from St. Mary, Our Lady of Grace Parish, and Benjamin Rivera from St. James the Apostle Parish.

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2024 LPMI Commissioning

LPMI and SEPI are made possible in part through gifts to the Catholic Ministry Appeal. To learn more, visit