Pope Benedict recently welcomed Bishop-designate Gregory L. Parkes of Pensacola-Tallahassee, Florida â€“Â the newest and the tallest member of the U.S. episcopate.
â€œIâ€™m 6 feet 8 inches and I believe from what Iâ€™ve heard from the other bishops that I will be the tallest bishop in the United States,â€ Bishop-designate Parkes told CNA in Rome prior to his papal audience May 11.
â€œAs far as the gift that it is, I suppose people remember you first of all and you tend to draw attention to yourself, so I try to use that in a very good way and very positive way to serve Godâ€™s people.â€
The towering cleric will be installed at bishop of Pensacola Tallahassee on June 5. This week he is making his first ever â€œad liminaâ€ pilgrimage to Rome and his first ever papal audience at bishop-designate.
â€œI want to assure the Holy Father that I will be faithful to him and to the teaching of our Church and to let him know that there is great hope in the United States,â€ Bishop Parkes said.
Originally from New Yorkâ€™s Long Island, the 48-year-old bishop moved to Florida in his teens to attend college at Florida State University in Tallahassee. Interestingly, his alma mater is now in his new diocese. He was ordained for the Diocese of Orlando in 1999.
He described this week in Rome as a â€œgreat blessingâ€ as well as an opportunity to grasp how the administration of the Vatican operates. [More]