SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- A Roman Catholic priest who has served for more than two decades in Florida has been named bishop for the Diocese of Savannah in Georgia.
Pope Francis announced Wednesday that the Rev. Stephen D. Parkes will lead the diocese that governs Catholic parishes in 90 counties across central and southern Georgia, including Savannah, Augusta, Macon, Albany and Brunswick. The diocese has 75,000 Catholics scattered across that territory, out of 3 million overall residents, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The 55-year-old priest was ordained in Orlando, Florida, in 1998. Parkes comes to Georgia from the Diocese of Orlando, where he spent the past nine years as pastor of Annunciation Catholic Church in Longwood, Florida. Parkes speaks both English and Spanish and is a native of Mineola, New York.
Parkes is the brother of Gregory Parkes, who was named bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg on Florida's Gulf Coast in 2016.
"A day of great joy as my brother, Father Stephen Parkes, is appointed Bishop of Savannah by Pope Francis! Blessed to be brothers. Blessed to be brother Bishops!" tweeted Gregory Parkes.
The previous bishop for Savannah was Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmeyer of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, who was installed in his new position in May. The Diocese of Savannah says Parkes is scheduled to be ordained as bishop Sept. 23.