Bishop Gregory Parkes, the leader of 450,000 Catholics in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, announced this week in a letter that he will undergo surgery June 9 for a below-the-knee amputation on his right leg.
“As many of you know, I’ve struggled with issues related to my right foot for years,” Parkes, 58, wrote in the letter, dated Tuesday. “Unfortunately, efforts and therapies to resolve these issues have proven unsuccessful.”
The surgery, he wrote, will provide him with the “best hope for being able to engage in ministry and have better health and quality of life.”
He said he would continue to work during his recovery and rehabilitation to the extent he is able.
“Please know that I’m grateful for your prayers, support and patience during this time,” the bishop wrote. “It is my hope and prayer that this procedure will ultimately allow me to engage more fully in the ministry to which I’ve been called as your Bishop. Be assured of my prayers for you and our Diocese.”
Spokesperson Teresa Peterson said the diocese is asking the community to follow the bishop on his social media accounts and leave positive messages or prayers. They are asking those who share to use the hashtag #PrayForBishop.
Parkes became the fifth bishop of St. Petersburg in 2017, replacing Bishop Robert N. Lynch. The diocese encompasses Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.