Pope Francis


One of the mixed blessings of growing old is that you have seen a lot. And while it is almost always an exaggeration to say you have seen it all, well, I think I have now seen it all.

In his New Year’s Eve homily, Pope Francis, never one to shy away from taking on our most egregious sins, addressed one of the most prevalent: bad drivers.

I’m with him.

Sandra Averhart / WUWF Public Media

The Pensacola-Tallahassee Catholic Diocese is getting a new Bishop. Pope Francis has appointed Bishop-elect William Wack to the position.

Bishop-elect Wack comes to the local diocese from Austin, TX, where he has been pastor of St. Ignatius Martyr Parish for the last eight years. He replaces Bishop Gregory Parkes, who was installed as Bishop of St. Petersburg in January of this year. 

Before a room of diocese administrators gathered at the Pastoral Center in Pensacola, Msgr. James Flaherty shared the news.

Bishop Gregory Parkes, who has led the Pensacola-Tallahassee Catholic Diocese since 2012, will be installed January 4 as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

Appointed by Pope Benedict the XVI, Parkes became the fifth bishop of the Pensacola-Tallahassee Catholic Diocese. He succeeded Bishop John Ricard, who retired due to health reasons. The decision by Pope Francis to place him downstate, Parkes says, was unexpected.

Diocese Of Pensacola-Tallahassee

  Pope Francis is giving all priests the discretion to grant official forgiveness, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, to women who have had abortions, during the Catholic Church’s upcoming Holy Year.

There have been only 28 Holy Years, from the one called in the year 1300 by Pope Boniface VIII, to the one ushered in by Pope John Paul II in 2000.

Also known as “Jubilee,” this Holy Year begins Monday, December 8 and runs through November 20, 2016.

photo via Flickr//James Jackson / https://flic.kr/p/z1GBvY

  Pope Francis became the first Pontiff to address a joint session of congress during his visit to Washington on Thursday. Cong. Jeff Miller called it “an honor” to attend the historic event.

“I think the delivery of the speech in English was showing a humbleness,” said Miller. “Because it is obviously not his native language, and he had to work very hard in order to deliver such a long speech.”



Pope Francis arrived Tuesday in Washington, D-C, to kick off his four-day visit to the United States. Among those waiting to greet him is Bishop Gregory Parkes, who shepherds the Pensacola-Tallahassee Diocese.

“We don’t know what he’s going to say, it’s going to be a ‘pastoral’ visit, so he’ll be speaking as a pastor, as the leader of the Catholic Church,” Parkes said. “His reason for coming to the United States is to participate in the World Meetings of Families, which will take place in Philadelphia [on Saturday].



Pope Francis is giving all priests the discretion to grant forgiveness to women who have had abortions, during the Catholic Church’s upcoming Holy Year.

The “Holy Year” – also known as “Jubilee” -- begins December 8 and runs through November 26, 2016. Its theme -- announced by Francis earlier this year -- is “Mercy.”

Environmental activists and supporters of renewable energy are celebrating the strong message from Pope Francis on climate change. And the Pontiff’s encyclical has drawn comment from northwest Florida’s Roman Catholic leader.

An encyclical is considered to be a major writing by a Pope, usually addressed to the universal Church, as well as to anyone who’s willing to read it, says Bishop Gregory Parkes, who oversees the Pensacola-Tallahassee Catholic Diocese.


Upwards of three million people will gather in Rome this weekend, for Sunday’s canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII. Pope Francis will declare sainthood on two of his most influential predecessors.

Francis made the announcement last October during a meeting with cardinals at the Vatican. Each pope gained high international profiles – John for the modernizing the Church in the 1960s, and John Paul for encouraging the fall of Communism in his native Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe.