Most Rev. Gregory L. Parkes was ordained and installed as the Fifth Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee on June 5, 2012, having been appointed to the position by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, on March 20, 2012.
Bishop Parkes was born April 2, 1964 in Mineola, NY. He attended St. Rose of Lima School in Massapequa, NY, Massapequa High School and Daytona Beach Community College before earning a bachelor’s degree in finance from Florida State University. Prior to entering the seminary he worked in the banking industry in Tampa, Florida. He attended St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach, Florida from 1993-1996 and the Pontifical North American College in the Vatican City State from 1996-2000. He holds a Sacred Theology (S.T.B.) degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University (1998) and a Canon Law (J.C.L.) degree from the Pontifical Gregorian University (2000). He was ordained a priest of the Orlando diocese by Bishop Norbert Dorsey on June 26, 1999.
Assignments after ordination included parochial vicar, Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando from 2000-2004 and parochial administrator and pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Celebration, Florida, from 2005-2012. Bishop Parkes served the Orlando diocese as Vicar General and Chancellor for Canonical Affairs and as the pastor of Corpus Christi Parish in Celebration, Florida.
Bishop Parkes succeeded Most Rev. John H. Ricard, SSJ, as Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
A bishop’s coat of arms is distinguished by a sign of his rank. That sign, placed over a shield, is a particular version of an ecclesiastical hat that was worn in processions, as late as 1870. The hat is low=-crowned, flat and wide-brimmed. On a bishop’s coat of arms, the hat is green and hanging from it are 12 green tassels, six on each side. There’s also a processional cross above the shield. The cross on a bishop’s coat of arms has one bar, while an archbishop’s cross has two.
Bishop Parkes’ coat of arms, by heraldic tradition, includes the arms of the local bishop along with the arms of his jurisdiction, in this case the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, which is represented by the two quadrants on the left-hand side. Since the diocese is a dual-city see, the arms have been divided in half (top and bottom), each half to honor one of the see cities.
The upper portion of the diocesan arms honors Pensacola. The arms are composed of a red field on which is placed a gold cross, the faith. In the center of the cross is a silver (white) plate on which is a representation of the Sacred Heart, to honor the titular of the cathedral. In the upper left (chief dexter) is a silver (white) airplane propeller to denote that Pensacola is principally known for the largest aviation training school for the U.S. Navy in the world.
The lower portion of the diocesan arms contains symbolism of the city of Tallahassee. These arms are composed of a silver (white) field on which is displayed a red saltair (“X”) which is taken from the flag of the state of Florida, of which Tallahassee is the capital. In the compartments formed by the saltair are three black More cocks, to honor the titular of the Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More, and the black log cabin to signify that the native American word “Tallahassee” means “Old Town.”
Regarding the right side (personal) of the coat of arms, Bishop Parkes has chosen to represent his family heritage and the diocese where he was ordained as a priest and served. At the top, the three stag heads are drawn directly from the Parkes family crest, and signify peace, purity and strength. The stag heads are red to symbolize strength, nobility and fairness. The bottom half of the right side is taken from elements on the shield of the Diocese of Orlando.
The main colors of red and gold recall the colors of the flag of Spain, for it was missionaries from that country who first brought the Gospel to Florida. The Chi-Rho (X-P) is taken from the first two letter of the Greek word for Christ, the Son of God and center of all Christian faith.
At the bottom of the coat of arms is Bishop Parkes’ episcopal motto: “Nomini Tuo Da Gloriam” (“To Your Name, Give the Glory”) from Psalm 115.