Bishop Parkes offers Holy Week thoughts

- On this Good Friday, as Christians around the world are commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus, Pope Francis led a procession known as "The Way of the Cross" around Rome's Colosseum, where he greeted and blessed the faithful.    

Meanwhile, Bishop Gregory Parkes has been leading Holy Week services for Catholics across Tampa Bay. He also found time to sit down with our Craig Patrick to discuss some big issues for the church. 

Craig asked him what he's learned, and what he's changing in his second year as Tampa Bay's Catholic Bishop.

Why is it called Good Friday?

“It is a day of conflicting emotion,” the bishop explained. “One the one hand, it is a day when we commemorate and remember that Jesus was put to death, we believe unjustly; that he was innocent. On the other hand, we fell a sense of gratitude that he did allow himself and that he did subject himself to that death for our salvation, for the forgiveness of our sins.”

Is anything missing in the current debate on violence?

“The gun debate is very complicated,” Bishop Parkes offered. “The solution to is seems to be legislative, first of all. But also providing resources to attend to those and to reach out to those who may be suffering from emotional or mental illness and depression and so forth.  And of course for each one of us, there needs to be accountability toward each other and a greater respect for the gift of life.”

What have you heard in your first year?

“The need for social outreach, to reach out to the poor, to the homeless, to the hungry, the less fortunate of our community.  It’s always been part of our mission as a church.  It’s something we do and do well in some cases, but there’s always opportunity to do more.

“The other thing was that we need to encourage people and reach out to people who had left the practice of the faith or that no longer practice any faith and encourage them to come back to church and experience god’s love and his mercy.”

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