Saturday, October 28, 2006
Fr. Bob Hawkins, OCTOBER 29, 2006
Fr. Bob Hawkins, OCTOBER 1, 2006
One particular concern of the Pope is reciprocity. He urges Islamic states to grant the same rights and freedoms to Christians and other religious minorities that Muslims receive in the West. One example of this is that while Saudis contributed tens of millions of dollars to build Europe’s largest mosques in Rome, Christians cannot build churches in Saudi Arabia.
I find it deeply disturbing that the extremists are winning the day in our world. Where are the modern voices of moderation? Who is today’s Anwar Sadat or Yitzhak Rabin? The value of Benedict is that he is appealing for dialogue between faiths. In an atmosphere of interreligious dialogue people meet in confidence and trust, share their spiritual gifts, maintain their faith and practice, and open themselves to grace and truth. This is what Pope Benedict is trying to do. Let us pray that he is successful.
Fr. Bob Hawkins, September 24, 2006
- A big thank you to Nancy Fitzgerald and her PTO board for a wonderful opening of the year picnic at Colt State Park. The weather cooperated as we enjoyed a perfect sunset over the bay. We were able to welcome many new families to our school community.
- Last week we had a parish finance meeting. One bit of great news is that our parish debt is down to $63,450.00. As things look now we should be finished with the debt in February. At that point the committee is thinking of changing the debt reduction envelope to a capital maintenance envelope. This will allow us to keep up with improvements and repairs to the parish plant.
- The parish auction will be here before you know it. Mark your calendars for November 3 at Johnson and Wales in Seekonk. We are blessed to have an excellent committee organizing this event.
- Please pray for our religious education teachers as they are commissioned this weekend at all the masses. Also please pray for the success of the Alpha program that begins this Sunday evening.
- Lastly, my office window looks out at the rectory’s backyard. This time of the year I watch the comings and goings of our pre-school parents and their lovely children. It is a great blessing to be in a parish with a school. Forming young people’s hearts, minds and souls brings me great joy. Let us work together this year to build up the St. Luke’s community.
Fr. Bob Hawkins, September 17, 2006
“LABOR DAY…a good time to reflect upon the Catholic Framework for Economic Life a statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops…
1. The economy exists for the person, not the person for the economy.
2. All economic life should be shaped by moral principles. Economic choices and institutions must be judged by how they protect or undermine the life and dignity of the human person, support the family, and serve the common good.
3. A fundamental moral measure of any economy is how the poor and vulnerable are faring.
4. All people have a right to life and to secure the basic necessities of life (e.g., good clothing, shelter, education, health care, safe environment, economic security).
5. All people have the right to economic initiative, to productive work, to just wages and benefits, to decent working conditions, as well as to join unions or other associations.
6. All people, to the extent they are able, have a corresponding duty to work, a responsibility to provide for the needs of their families, and an obligation to contribute to the broader society.
7. In economic life, free markets have both clear advantages and limits: government has essential
responsibilities and limitations; voluntary groups have irreplaceable roles, but cannot substitute for the proper working of the market and the just policies of the state.
8. Society has a moral obligation, including governmental action where necessary, to assure opportunity, meet basic human needs, and pursue justice in economic life.
9. Workers, owners, stockholders, and consumers are moral agents in economic life. By our choices, initiative, creativity and investment, we enhance or diminish economic opportunity, community life, and social justice.
10. The global economy has moral dimensions and human consequences. Decisions on investment, trade, aid, and development should protect human life and promote human rights, especially for those most in need wherever they might live on this globe.
According to Pope John Paul II, the Catholic tradition calls for “a society of work, enterprise and participation” which “is not directed against the market but demands that the market be appropriately controlled by the forces of society and by the state to assure that the basic needs of the whole society are satisfied.” (Centesimus Annus) All of economic life should recognize the fact that we are all God’s children and members of the human family, called to exercise a clear priority for the ‘least among us’.”
Fr. Bob Hawkins, SEPTEMBER 10, 2006
In the days ahead so many activities will commence. We have a very active fall season with classes and committees beginning. In November our bi-annual parish auction takes place. In October the accreditation team comes to evaluate our school. As I begin my second year as pastor I’m looking forward to working with Father Matt and all of you to make St. Luke’s all that it can be.
Fr. Bob Hawkins SEPTEMBER 3, 2006
The Diocese is wise to have seminarians spend time during their formation years in parishes. There you see the ebb and flow of parish life. This has not only been a good experience for Luke, it has also been very beneficial to us. Thank you, Luke, for your smile, sincerity, prayerfulness and dedication to the people of God. Good luck as you resume your academic formation. We look forward to having you with us at Christmas time.
Fr. Bob Hawkins, AUGUST 13, 2006
The Pastor, speaking to the younger priest, said, “It was a good idea to replace the first
four rows of pews with plush bucket theater seats. It worked like a charm. The front
of the church always fills first now.
The young priest nodded, and the old priest continued, “And you told me a little more
beat to the music would bring young people back to the church, so I supported you
When you brought in that rock’n roll gospel choir. We are packed to the balcony!”
“Thank you, Father,” answered the young priest. “I am pleased that you are open to the new ideas of youth.”
“However,” said the elderly priest, “I’m afraid you’ve gone too far with the drive-thru confessional.”
“But, Father,” protested the young priest, “my confessions and the donations have nearly doubled since I began that!”
“I know, son, but that flashing neon sign, ‘Toot ‘n Tell or Go to Hell’” just can’t stay on the church roof.”
Bob Hawkins, AUGUST 6, 2006
Fr. Bob Hawkins, July 30, 2006
The last of three excerpts from Bishop Braxton’s remarks.
“…The name Islam is derived from an Arabic word which means peace (shalom in Hebrew). Islam means abandoning oneself, surrendering oneself in peace to Allah. While there are passages in the Quran that can be used to incite violence, there is nothing intrinsically violent about Islam. The vast majority of the world’s Muslims live in peace with others. The primary meaning of the Islamic term jihad is not “holy war against infidels” as we sometimes hear. Jihad means to “exert oneself” or to struggle, for example, by working hard, fighting to do good, striving to spread Islam all over the world.
This can also include using political structures and military strength to spread
Islam. Jihad can be a call to war to defend Islam. Islam also teaches that suicide (e.g. terrorists in the four planes on Sept. 11) is a sin, punishable by damnation. Like Christians, Muslims become martyrs only when they are put to death for their
A number of Christian experts on Christian-Muslim relations believe that while we should reject stereotypes of Islam, we should not take lightly the “clash of
civilizations” that can exist between Islam and Christianity. They see major differences between Islamic countries and countries shaped by Western Europe. They have radically different forms of structuring society and the relationship of religion to the state, and this could lead to serious tension and conflict in the United
The rapid growth and spread of Islam in our world and in our country presents
complex challenges to anyone involved in Catholic education today charting the future for tomorrow. As Catholics we have an unshakable faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world. We also believe firmly that Christ has mandated us to proclaim the good news, teach all nations and share with them the gift of baptism. As we have been reminded by the Vatican declaration “Dominus Jesus: On the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church,” our genuine openness to interfaith dialogue cannot lead us to embrace relativism.
Jesus, the Messiah and Lord, can never be presented as simply one of many prophets, one of many paths to salvation. Truly irenic interfaith dialogue must begin by being honest about the unchangeable foundations of our own faith. Most followers of Islam appreciate this because they feel obliged to be faithful to their fundamental
In our new world situation the new apologetic must acknowledge that it will not be sufficient to refer to Islam in a few paragraphs in a rapid survey of world religions. We are already seeing a small number of Catholic youths converting to Islam. We need serious and substantial Catholic reflections about Christianity and Islam online.
A key component of the new apologetic vis-à-vis Islam, I believe, is personal
contact. A first step in charting the course for the future in these challenging waters is to make every effort to establish contact with followers of Islam who live in or near your communities. Share your stories of faith. In this way, both groups – Christians and Muslims – have a human face.”
Islam, as taught by Muhammad in the Qur'an, a work Muslims believe is the inspired literal word of God, is built upon five duties called the Five Pillars.
• The Creed (Shahada): “There is no god but Allah and Muhammed is his messenger.”
• Prayer (Salat): Faithful Muslims pray a standardized set of prayers five times a day.
• Alms-Giving (Zakat): Once a year based upon their income Muslims must give alms for the poor.
• Fasting (Swam): Throughout the daylight hours of the lunar month of Ramadan, observant Muslims must fast.
• Pilgrimage (Haj): If they can, all Muslims must go on pilgrimage once in their lifetime to Mecca .
Since Muhammad was both a political and a spiritual leader, the “Islamic Way” or “Shariah,” derived from the Qur'an and other Islamic texts, has led to the Shariah Law which governs the way modern Islam interacts with the non-Islamic world. Like Christianity, Islam has a vision of how people should live in this world, and it strives to create social and political structures in which people live according to this vision, sometimes down to the last detail.
Most (95%) of all Muslims are Sunni Muslims who believe that their leaders should be chosen by consultation and consensus. A small (3%) group called Shiite Muslims believe that only direct descendants of Muhammad can be Muslim leaders. Both groups embrace the Five Pillars. But they differ significantly on how Muslims should live in religiously and politically pluralistic societies.
The Islamic community is growing rapidly in Europe . There are several million Muslims in the United States , substantial numbers in many metropolitan areas. And their numbers continue to grow. In time Islam may well be a major force in this country. I enjoyed and continue to enjoy an excellent relationship with Ahmed El-Mamlouk , the Imam of the growing Muslim community in Lake Charles . He is a gracious man steeped in Islamic wisdom from the School of Alexandria in Egypt . Well over two million American Muslims worship at mosques each week. There have been disputes in some cities about the call to prayer broadcast from the minarets of mosques ‘imposing” Islam on Christians and counter arguments that church bells “impose” Christianity on Muslims.
Since Islam has no worldwide central authority, fragmentation and sectarianism are not uncommon. This may be especially the case regarding the issue of how faithful Muslims should live in pluralistic, democratic societies like the United States , which sanctions no state religion and which welcomes diverse religious traditions. Some Muslims prefer an Islamic state, like Iran or Saudi Arabia , where religious leaders who apply the Qur'an to everyday life making no distinction between secular and religious life hold the highest political positions. This is a part of the current difficulty in forming a new government in Iraq .
One very austere Islamic sect called Wahhabism (started by Muhammed bin Abd al-Wahhab (1703-87), the co-founder of Saudi Arabia ) calls for the strictest interpretation of the Qur'an. Its followers reject what they see as the materialistic, self-indulgent secularism of western (especially American) culture. It is the Wahhabi sect from Saudi Arabia that has shaped the violent extremism of Osama bin Laden. to be continued...
Father Bob, JULY 2, 2006
“Raid Growth of Islam, Uniqueness of Christianity”
“After that terrible day Sept. 11, 2001, many American Catholics asked themselves the question, What do we know about Islam? Some acknowledged that about all they knew was that it was the religion of Osama bin Laden and the terrorists.
Since then a day has not passed when Islam, a major world religion, has not been in the news. The children in our Catholic schools and in our parish schools of religion and our confirmation candidates, along with their teachers and their parents, are wondering about Islam. The rapid unfolding of events in the world has made it abundantly clear that we need to do much more than wonder. We need to learn.
When I was pastor in a suburb of Chicago, an eighth grader from our parish school whose uncle had converted to Islam had an urgent question. “Is it true that Our Lady of Fatima is an Islamic name?” I said, “Our Lady of Fatima celebrates the 1917 apparition of Mary in a city in Portugal. Because the name of the city is Fatima, Mary became known as ‘Our Lady of Fatima.’” I told him the name Fatima however, does have Islamic origins. It is an Arabic word,
not Portuguese. After the spread of Islam from North Africa to Portugal, the city was named Fatima, honoring the Daughter of Muhammad, the prophet of Allah and the founder of Islam, who was born in Mecca, in present-day Saudi Arabia in 570 A.D.
He said, “I never heard that before!”
Most Catholics may be aware that the Catholic Church is the largest Christian community in the world, with over 1.1 billion members. However, there is a great deal about Islam that they have never heard before. They may not be aware that there are over 1 billion followers of Islam as well. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are sometimes referred to as Abrahamic faith traditions because all three trace their roots to the patriarch Abraham, who worshiped God alone, and not many gods. This monotheism was something radically new in the Middle East.
When we ponder the belief that there is only one God, we realize that Yahweh, the God of Israel, Abba Father, the God of Jesus Christ, and Allah, the God of Islam are the SAME God, since there is only one God. Judaism does not have a god, Christianity another and Islam still another. If the God in whom the three Abrahamic faith traditions believe is God, then the faith traditions do not have God. God has us!
This affirmation does not mean that there are not profound, irreconcilable differences in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, about the divine nature. Differing about how God is God (for example, the Trinity, the incarnation) is not the same as affirming different gods.
The Quran, the holy book of Islam, recounts many narratives featuring Old Testament figures like Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Solomon and David. The Quran also reveres the Virgin Mary and her son, Jesus Christ, acknowledging his miraculous birth and resurrection though not his divinity. Muhammad, unlike some radical extremist Islamic groups today, taught that Muslims must treat Jews and Christians in their countries as guests, not enemies. The followers of Islam believe that God’s revelation did not end in Christianity. They believe Judaism and Christianity are extended and fulfilled in Islam...” (to be continued)
In his Encyclical on the Eucharist (Ecclesia de Eucharistia), Pope John Paul II wrote: “The Holy Eucharist stands at the center of the Church’s life and…is the most precious possession which the Church can have in her journey through history.” In his letter to the Priest of our Diocese, Bishop Tobin writes: “The implementation of these directives provides us with an opportunity, then, not only to review our liturgical practice, but also to renew our personal reverence for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, this ‘precious possession’ of the Church, and to encourage our people to a more active and vibrant participation in the holy mysteries.”
Norms Concerning the Assembly:
1. During the recitation of the Creed, all should bow their heads at the words:
“by the power of the Holy Spirit, he was born of the Virgin Mary
and became man.”
2. After the priest washes his hands, returns to the center of the Altar and says:
“Pray brethren…, all should STAND first and then respond: “May the
3. When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his/her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence, and then receives the Body of Christ.
In his book A Cry for Mercy Henri Nouwen writes this about Pentecost:
“The Holy Spirit, whom Jesus promised to his followers, is the great gift of God. Without the Spirit of Jesus, we can do nothing, but, in and through His Spirit, we can have free, joyful and courageous lives. We cannot pray, but the Spirit of Christ can pray in us. We cannot create peace and joy, but the Spirit of Christ can fill us with a peace and joy which is not of this world. We cannot break through the many barriers which divide races, sexes and nations, but the Spirit of Jesus unites all people in the all-embracing love of God. The Spirit of Christ burns away our many fears and anxieties and sets us free to move wherever we are sent. That is the great liberation of Pentecost.”
In my short time among you I have witnessed many manifestations of the Holy Spirit. People come together to share their time, talent and treasure. Community is created when people give of themselves to others. Last weekend we dedicated the plaque in the garden to Fr. William Jenkinson. We are grateful for the many gifts he shared with St. Luke’s parish. A big thank you to the Ramos family who erected the stone and also to Kathy LaRiviere, Rosemary Silva and Linda Baker who prepared the garden.
Fr. Bob Hawkins, JUNE 4, 2006
Fr. Bob Hawkins, MAY 14, 2006
“Someone stole my wig while I was having surgery yesterday,” she complained.
The doctor came out and tried to calm her down. “I assure you that no one on my staff would have done such a thing. Why do you think it was taken here?”
“Well,” she huffed, “after the operation I noticed that the wig I had on was ugly and cheap-looking.”
The surgeon said gently, “Ma’am, I think that means that your cataract operation was a success.”
This story in many ways is an Easter season story. At Easter we get a new set of lenses through which to see the world. We begin to see things from a new perspective as we recognize Christ in every moment, in every place, in every relationship. The disciples in today’s Gospel have their eyes opened as they recognize Jesus in the breaking of the bread. During this season we have many opportunities to recognize Jesus in the midst. The Catholic Charity Drive invites us to recognize Jesus in the needy. Next week Patrick Moynihan from the Haitian project will tell us of a school in Haiti that educates young people from the poorest country in the western hemisphere. There are many ways for us to have our eyes opened in the Easter season.
Fr. Bob Hawkins, APRIL 29, 2006
In southeastern California there is a 282-foot gorge they call Death Valley. It is the lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere and the hottest as well. It has gotten as high as 134 degrees. Less than two inches of rain fall in the valley each year and whatever streams are created evaporate immediately.
Several years ago, however, the barren waste-land received an amazing nineteen straight days of rain. Suddenly the bone-dry earth came to life. Seeds that had been dormant for years burst into bloom and Death Valley became, at least for a while, a misnomer. One of my favorite images comes from the Advent season where it says that desert will bloom.
This analogy of Death Valley is a powerful symbol of Easter. By virtue of Jesus’ saving death and resurrection, all that was dead now lives. Beauty transcends the ugly. I’m sure that if we look at our lives we can identify with the barren seeds lying dead on the floor of Death Valley. Our world seems dead because of despair, violence, addiction and brokenness. Easter is a time to roll back the stone in our lives that prevents us from loving. Through the water of Baptism sin and death are conquered; we are called today to embrace life and turn away from death.
In Romans we hear it said that death had no more power over Jesus. It is the same in our lives. Depression has no more power over us. Addiction has no more power over us. Violence has no more power over us.
The Russian Orthodox people have a wonderful custom of enjoying big meals on the day after Easter. They sit around and tell jokes. They tell jokes to remember the big joke God played on Satan. Satan thought he had won on Good Friday. Jesus was put on trial, whipped and crucified. It was the triumph of death and darkness. But then on Easter God rose His Son from the dead. Let us rejoice in this wonderful “joke” this Easter. “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us be glad and rejoice in it.”
Fr. Bob Hawkins Easter APRIL 16, 2006
Fr. Bob Hawkins APRIL 9, 2006
“…When I meet my maker I want to have used up, totally and completely, every gift I have been given. I want to return to God empty-handed, when I have spent all God gave me. Then I’ll be ready to go home...”
So often we think of almsgiving as the giving of our monetary resources. This woman reminds us that there is more to almsgiving than that. If we are true givers we give all of our energy to the Kingdom of God. We expend ourselves in God’s service. This is true almsgiving.
Fr. Bob Hawkins APRIL 1, 2006
"The nagging suspicion grows. Why can't we shake destructive patterns? Why do we keep yelling at the children about stuff that doesn't matter? Why do we spend hours watching television instead of working on the career change that would make us a better person? Why do we hurt the same people over and over? We never settle for less comfort. Why do we always settle for less kindness and honor and compassion?"
In Lent we practice the age old disciplines of prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We do this to combat the snake. The snake within wants too much food. We don't eat too much. The snake wants more money, more possessions, more control. We fast, give to the Rice Bowl, sacrifice for others. The snake wants our relationships neglected. We work on them. Ultimately in Lent we draw closer to Jesus who is the one in our tradition who helps us expel the snake and live holy lives.
Fr. Bob Hawkins MARCH 26, 2006
Eucharist. Finally on Wednesday we will have a chance to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Fr. Bob Hawkins MARCH 19, 2006
In our busy lives days like last Sunday are so much needed. We spend so much of our lives trying to keep pace. Every once in a while a weather event reminds us that God is in charge of our lives and not us. It is a joy to give up control and to letGod be God. A pleasant Sabbath was had by all.
Fr. Bob Hawkins, FEBRUARY 19, 2006
1) “To respond to the expectations of modern society, to cooperate with great evangelizing action
which involves all Christians, prepared and courageous priests are needed who, without
ambitions and fears, but convinced of the gospel truth, are concerned above all with proclaiming Christ.”
2) “Priests must be willing to bow before human sufferings, making everyone, especially the
poor and those going through difficulties, feel the consolation of the love of God and the warmth
of the ecclesial family.”
Both Father Matt and I ask that you pray that we be such priests for you here at St. Luke’s. Thank you for your supportive presence which gives us both so much energy.
Fr. Bob Hawkins FEBRUARY 12, 2006
Also this weekend we dedicate our new pulpit and baptismal font in memory of Father Jenkinson. This will complete the church’s renovation from a few years back. A big thank you to Thomas and Roberta Coyne whose donation made the font possible. May the baptism font remind us that we are all God’s children.
Fr. Bob Hawkins JANUARY 29, 2006
Fr. Bob Hawkins JANUARY 22, 2006
I tell this story because I believe there should be more stories about finishing a task in our culture. Go to any bookstore, and you will find countless self-help books about starting things: a diet, a business, a relationship, etc. Everyone wants to write about starting the journey. Yet do we find the strength to keep going when the journey is difficult?
The baptism of Jesus was the beginning of a great race for him. He was called to proclaim God’s unconditional love and mercy. This was no 100 meter race. Instead it would demand all the staying power of a marathon runner. He would have to deal with rejection, betrayal and eventual crucifixion.
As we look at our baptism we realize that what was required of Jesus is also required of us. Millions
are baptized and begin the journey, but there is a dreadful attrition rate. So many people find it easy to drop out when prayers aren’t answered as the journey becomes arduous. Staying power is vital. This Sunday we welcome six infants into our faith in the saving waters of baptism. We pray for the parents of these children. They are called to be the first and the best teachers in the ways of faith.
Fr. Bob Hawkins JANUARY 15, 2006
Homilies: I love to preach the word of God. I find it a challenge to apply the word of God to everyday life. It’s important that the word connects to our experience. Paul says in Hebrews: “the word is alive and active, sharper than a two edged sword.” I pledge, along with Fr. Matt, to take the preaching ministry of our church seriously.
Hymns: The old saying, “the one who sings prays twice” is so true. Let us sing a joyful song to the Lord here at St. Luke’s. Vibrant, active participation in the celebrations of the Eucharist is vital to building up the people of God.
Hospitality: Already I can tell you are a hospitable parish. The opening reception of a few weeks back shows you enjoy being together as a community. I look forward to receptions, picnics, and dinners here at St. Luke’s. Let us also greet each other warmly as we gather for worship each week
Holy Eucharist: We are a Eucharistic people who gather to celebrate the real presence of Christ in our midst. Let us allow Christ to do to us what he does to the bread on the altar. May He take us, bless us break us and share us with others.
Fr. Bob Hawkins JULY 24, 2005