On the Path to Healing
Just three months after doctors performed a below-the-knee amputation on Bishop Gregory Parkes, the 58-year-old leader of the Diocese of St. Petersburg is walking again on his own.
The surgery took place on June 9, 2022, and the past few months have involved resting, healing, and learning how to walk with a prosthetic.
“Overall, I'm feeling so much better than I was before the surgery. I'm grateful that now I’m able to walk on my own. I'm driving and doing everything that I need to do to live independently,” said Bishop Parkes during an interview on August 31st.
He admits this journey has been challenging, especially facing so much uncertainty about what the outcome would be. His source of strength has been prayer.
“In my daily conversation with God and my prayer, I just put it in His hands, praying for patience and asking for His healing power to come upon me. I was able to celebrate the Eucharist every day and found strength in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Eucharist. Receiving our Lord in the Eucharist each day was a source of healing and a blessing for me during this time,” Bishop Parkes said.
He also says the prayers of so many people lifted him up, especially during the most difficult trials.
“All the prayers that I've received, not only from those here in our Diocese, but throughout the country and even throughout the world, have been such a great source of strength for me, and provided me with the hope that I needed, particularly when I might have been a little bit discouraged,” said Bishop Parkes.
People from so many places have reached out to Bishop Parkes with prayers and positive messages on social media, through the mail and email.
“I've just been overwhelmed by the amount of prayers that I've received. The very kind notes and the thoughts, emails that I've received during this time. It's hard for me to express how important they were to me, knowing that I wasn't on my own, but that I had other people of faith who were walking this journey with me and lifting me up by their prayers. For that. I'm so very, very grateful,” Bishop Parkes added. “I thank you for taking the time to pray for me and for being a source of strength and hope for me during this process.”
Bishop Parkes is slowly resuming his normal schedule but the timing for when he will resume all ministry activity is beyond his control. Therefore, he is relying on his patience and the patience of others as his healing is still ongoing. Currently though, he is scheduled to celebrate Mass at the Spirit FM Women’s Conference in Tampa on September 17th.
What is the bishop’s advice for others who are experiencing health challenges?
“Lay your life before the Lord and ask for His help. Also, don’t be afraid to ask others for their help. I know that was a bit challenging for me. I'm not somebody that likes to ask for help. Also, stay positive, stay hopeful, and lift your sufferings up to those of Jesus Christ,” responded Bishop Parkes.