Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo Courtesy Diocese of Orlando, Florida
Father Stephen Parkes, left, is pictured visiting a school in the Diocese of Orlando. Pope Francis appointed him the 15th Bishop of Savannah July 8.

Washington, DC

Pope Francis appoints Florida priest as new Bishop of Savannah

By GEORGIA BULLETIN NEWS STAFF | Published July 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Pope Francis has appointed Father Stephen Parkes, a priest of the Diocese of Orlando, as the Bishop of Savannah.

The appointment was publicized in Washington, D.C. on July 8 by Archbishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio to the United States. The Diocese of Savannah has been a vacant see since March 2020 when then-Bishop Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., was named Archbishop of Atlanta.

Archbishop Hartmayer offered words of congratulations for his successor in Savannah.

“I have known Bishop-elect Parkes since I was ordained the Bishop of Savannah. Bishop Parkes and I serve on the board of St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach,” he said. “I know him to be kind, gentle, compassionate, sensitive, an effective leader, but most of all a very holy man. Pope Francis has made an excellent choice in choosing Bishop Parkes as the 15th Bishop of Savannah.”

Bishop-elect Parkes was born on June 2, 1965 in Mineola, New York, and ordained to the priesthood on May 23, 1998 for the Diocese of Orlando. Father Parkes attended Massapequa High School in New York and received a bachelor’s degree in business administration/marketing from the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida. He studied philosophy and theology at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach and holds a Master of Divinity.

After ordination, Father Parkes was assigned to Annunciation Church in Longwood as parochial vicar where he served until 2005 when he was named parochial administrator at Most Precious Blood Church in Oviedo. Additionally, in 2004 he was named Spiritual Director for Catholic Campus Ministry at the University of Central Florida in Orlando where he served until 2011.

Since 2011, Bishop-elect Parkes has served as pastor at Annunciation Church in Longwood. His ministry also includes serving as Dean of the North Central Deanery (2010-present), and spiritual director of the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida (2009-present). He speaks both English and Spanish.

The Diocese of Savannah is comprised of 37,038 square miles in the state of Georgia and has a total population of 2,934,000 of which 75,603 are Catholic.