Florida bishop recovering after surgery to amputate part of his leg

Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg, Fla., is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of St. Petersburg)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CNS) -- Bishop Gregory L. Parkes of St. Petersburg continues to recover from surgery to amputate his right leg below the knee.

Writing on Facebook June 25, Bishop Parkes said he was discharged from a residential rehabilitation center after a week of "intense physical therapy" and is staying at a parish rectory "until I'm ready to go home."

"Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement. They continue to give me strength and hope! Blessings! #courageouslyliving," he wrote in a post on the social media platform.

Bishop Parkes, 58, underwent surgery June 9 and was hospitalized for a week until being sent to the rehabilitation center.

Since the surgery, parishioners and school students have offered prayers and sent messages of support to Bishop Parkes through various social media channels, reported Gulf Coast Catholic, the online news outlet of the St. Petersburg Diocese.

More than 50 young people from Corpus Christ Parish in Temple Terrace, Florida, submitted a video of a prayer for healing they offered for Bishop Parkes during Vacation Bible School, which had as its theme "Monumental: Celebrating God's Greatness."

"Father Mike Smith along with the children, adult volunteers and teen helpers from our 'Monumental' VBS 2022, prepared this video for Bishop Parkes wishing him a quick recovery and letting him know we are all praying for him," said Liliana Hughson, director of faith formation at the parish.

Students attending Vacation Bible School at St. Mary Parish in Tampa, Florida, also prayed for the bishop Parkes and submitted a photo featuring the hashtag, #PrayForBishop.

On the day of the bishop's surgery, 96 people joined 24 hours of round-the-clock prayer, participating in 15-minute increments. Meanwhile, parishes around the five counties of the diocese have offered prayers for the bishop's recovery during Masses.

Parishioners from St. Thomas Aquinas in New Port Richey, Florida, traveled to the bishop's office in St. Petersburg to deliver a spiritual bouquet that included cards they collected. The cards were arranged in a gift basket that included teas, honey, tea biscuits, a rosary from Fatima, healing prayer cards, and other special treats.

Family Rosary Across America on Relevant Radio offered a prayer intention for the bishop's healing. Raul Galindo of Miami first heard about the bishop's surgery on Relevant Radio and he continues to keep the bishop in his prayers.

"Even though we don't know him, we are praying for him and his full recuperation," said Galindo, who regularly prays during the nightly broadcast of the rosary.

Bishop Parkes had announced that he planned to undergo surgery in a May 31 letter to the diocese. He said that the procedure "will provide me the best hope of being able to engage in ministry and have better health and quality of life."

"As many of you know, I have struggled with issues related to my right foot for years," he wrote. "Unfortunately, efforts and therapies to resolve these issues have proven unsuccessful."

He said he made the decision to have surgery "after much prayer, discernment and consultation with my doctors."

The bishop has said he will continue to provide updates on his recovery on social media -- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram -- under the handle @BishopParkes.

Pope Francis appointed Bishop Parkes to St. Petersburg in November 2016 after he served four years as bishop of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida. He was installed in St. Petersburg Jan. 4, 2017.


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