Sunday, November 25, 2007


After much planning, the rectory restoration project has begun. The R & D Construction Company of Warren has been engaged to accomplish the project. For your information, a new garage is the first order of business, followed by the construction of new offices (where the present garage is) and lastly there will be a new kitchen and dining room.

We ask for your patience throughout this process which should take between 3 and 4 months. Any donations to help defray the cost will be gratefully accepted. Funds from last year’s auction as well as the monthly building and maintenance collection will be used.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - November 18, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Life is Unending

A big "thank you" to our Bereavement Committee and choir who organized our annual Mass of Rememberance last Friday evening. November is the month that we remember all those who have returned home to God. We pray that our loved ones will share in Christ's victory over sin and death.

The following prayer by Bede Jarrett has been a favorite of mine for many years. It reflects the liturgical mood of November:

"We give him/her back to you, O Lord, who first gave him/her to us, and as you did not lose him/her in the giving so we do not lose him/her in the return. Not as the world gives do you give, O Lover of souls! For what is your is ours also, if we belong to you. Life is unending because love is undying, and the boundaries of this mortal life are but an horizon, and an horizon is but the limit of our sight. Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further! Strengthen us in faith, that we may see beyond the horizon! And while you prepare a place for us, as you have promised, prepare us also for that happy place, that where you are we may be also, with those we have loved, forever."

Fr. Bob Hawkins - November 10, 2007

Monday, October 29, 2007

Stewardship - October 28, 2007

Last weekend’s Ministry Fair yielded over 80 new people involved in various ministries here at St. Luke’s. A big thank you to Bill Sweeney, Gus Morelli, Tina Peck, Michele Pimentel, Ann Marie Beccue and Ann Molak who make up our stewardship committee. It was also very heartwarming to hear our lay witness talks. This gives stewardship a human face here at St. Luke’s. I am reminded today of the words of Jesus: “To whom much is given, much is expected.” St. Luke’s parish is rich in time, talent and treasure. May we be inspired to use it to build up Christ’s Body here at St. Luke’s.
Fr. Bob Hawkins - October 28, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where are those Missing Catholics? - October 17 2007

A few months back Church Magazine had an article entitled “Where are those Missing Catholics?” by Peter Feuerherd. For a long time the Church has been talking about evangelization. Simply, this means sharing the message of Jesus in a compelling way. According to the research group CARA, 27 percent of the U.S. population was raised Catholic. Of that group 74 percent are still Catholic. In other words, many Catholics have drifted away and strategies need to be developed to invite them back.

I would like to suggest a few ways here at St. Luke’s for us to be more effective in our outreach. One of the most powerful parts of our Catholic faith is our sacramental life. Every sacramental opportunity is an excellent chance to evangelize. A kind word or an inspired message at key life events, such as marriages and funerals can make an impact. Reaching out to couples bringing their children for baptism is another. Effective parent meetings on the occasion of First Penance and First Eucharist are essential. Developing a RCIA program that can both inform and welcome people inquiring about the faith can also be an effective way to evangelize.

Beyond the sacraments, developing a welcoming environment at the weekend liturgies needs to be examined. So often newcomers say you can walk into church and no one talks to you. Parishioners need to be encouraged to invite people they know to come to church. Personal invitation has proven to be more valuable than other forms of advertising, including newspaper and television ads.

Feuerherd ends his article by saying the following, “Whatever the technique, the sociological experts agree that attracting fallen-away Catholics is not going to happen on its own. They counsel that parishes are content to keep the sacraments and the faith for those who show up at their doors are guaranteed to have lackluster growth of face decline.”

Father Bob Hawkins- October 17 2007

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Engaged in a delicate dance - Sept 29, 2007

A few weeks back the Saturday religion page had an article entitled “New Orleans Clergy Need Counseling Themselves”. The article highlighted how hard it is at times to give comfort and solace to people in need. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina many ministers find it necessary to seek help themselves. Some ministers have had experiences where they have felt deeply the absence of God. Often they find themselves quoting the words of Jesus from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?”

Indeed to be a minister means you are engaged in a delicate dance. Along with time for others you need to acknowledge your own need for support, rest and intimacy with the Lord and others. More and more when I pray for the sick I also pray for their caregivers that they may not tire in the process. For me, I find support in my love for reading, cooking and music. I’m fortunate to have a few close friends and a supportive family. I write this message today to encourage all of you to get the support you need to flourish in your vocations.
Fr. Bob Hawkins - Sept 29, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

School opens Wednesday August 29!

As St. Luke’s School opens this Wednesday we are welcoming Maureen Jannetta as our new principal. Maureen comes highly regarded from St. Peter’s School in Warwick where she was principal for seven years. Already Maureen has been very proactive in developing strategies to improve our school. She has met weekly with our new middle school team, participated in our staff meetings and met with leaders of our boards. I am thrilled to be working with her as we seek to make our school an exciting learning community. Maureen is a woman of great faith who is committed to the educational mission of our church. Welcome Maureen and may you be with us for many happy years.

Father Bob Hawkins-AUGUST 25, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Why spend your money for what is not bread? July-29-2007

Karl Barth, one of last century’s great theologians, said that one preaches with a Bible in one hand and the news-paper in the other. Last weekend both Father Matt and I tried to do just that. Obviously, we struck a few raw nerves here in Barrington. Over and over we hear the mantra, “When will these young people learn.” But it is not just the young people, it’s all of us who live in this town. We need to learn that material things (i.e. status, fast living, cars, alcohol) do not address our deepest hungers. Today’s reading at morning prayer came from the prophet Isaiah, “Why spend your money for what is not bread, your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life.” (Isaiah 55, 1-3).

In our lives we are always restless. All of us live on Long Island in that we long for power, affection, control,status. In listening to our God we find the rest and peace only God can give. My hope as the pastor of this parish is that we can take the recent events and use them as a wake-up call to return humbly to our God.

Father Bob Hawkins July-29-2007

Photo of stained glass at St. Mary's Church, Newport, RI by Chuck Anastasia
St. Mary's, Newport, RI stained glass window

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Heartfelt appreciation from Bishop Tobin - JUNE 23, 2007

This week Fr. Bob wrote:

I received the following:

“Dear Father Hawkins:

Congratulations to you and your parish community for surpassing your goal for the 2007 Catholic Charity Fund Appeal. I am grateful to you for your hard work, dedicated involvement, and outstanding leadership that you have demonstrated to ensure the success of your parish’s 2007 Appeal effort.

Please extend my gratitude to the lay leadership and parishioners who made this success possible. Now in its 82nd year, the annual Catholic Charity Fund Appeal has helped tens of thousands of needy Rhode Islanders. On behalf of those who benefit from the Appeal each year, I extend my heartfelt appreciation….”

Sincerely yours,
Thomas J. Tobin
Bishop of Providence

JUNE 23, 2007

Monday, June 04, 2007

I’ll know excellence when I see it - June 3, 2007

I subscribe to Church Magazine a quarterly publication, which always has helpful articles on ministry. Recently I read an article by David DeLambo entitled “In Search of Pastoral Excellence”. The article probes the possibility of identifying certain characteristics that make a parish excellent. We are familiar with the saying, “I’ll know it when I see it”. It is more difficult to name, define or measure pastoral excellence. Yet the article highlights these five marks of an excellent parish: 1) preaching that connects Scripture to daily life; 2) attending to the needs of the sick, homebound and bereaved; 3) having a pastor and staff energized and enthusiastic about ministry; 4) liturgies that are prayerful, reverent, and spiritually moving; 5) engaging in outreach to the poor.

I believe in the quest for excellence. As my dad used to say, “If you are going to do a job, do it right”. Here at St. Luke’s we set lofty goals. Are we there yet? Probably not, but we are on the road.
Fr. Bob Hawkins June 3, 2007

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rectory Rennovations & Other Happenings - MAY 20, 2007

On May 7th a delegation from the parish presented plans to the Building Commission of the Diocese for the rectory/office project. We are awaiting their approval before we put the various projects out to bid. In short, we are looking at a new kitchen, better offices for the priests and office workers, and a bigger dining area. Last year’s successful auction, the monthly building and maintenance collection and parish reserves make this project fiscally feasible. More details will be forthcoming as we move forward.

A big thank you to all who made Lukasz’s diaconate ordination so beautiful. The choir, environment and reception committees did an outstanding job in coordinating the event.

The institution of communion under both species goes well. It will take a few more weeks to improve the flow of communion. Thanks especially to our Eucharistic Ministers who are working overtime these weekends.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - MAY 20, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

How I prepare my homilies - MAY 12, 2007

In last Sunday’s paper there was an article about how preachers prepare their homilies. I thought you might like to know the process I use. For 15 years I have met every 2 weeks with Fr. Joseph Creedon and Fr. Jack Heaney. We do some preparing ahead of time and then share our insights about the readings. I use various resources such as Connections, Celebrations, Good News. These are all publications with good ideas. On late Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning I take all the data from our study group and begin to craft the homily for the week. I try to be aware of what’s going on in the parish and in the world. The word of God is so often fleshed out in the events of our life. I then try to make a connection between our human experiences and what God’s word means to us today.

This weekend Luke Willenberg is to be ordained a deacon. I pray that as he ponders God’s word he will bring that word effectively into people’s lives. All of us are so proud of Luke and feel honored to have played a part in his formation for ordination.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - MAY 12, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Good Shepherd Sunday - APRIL 29, 2007

This is Good Shepherd Sunday where we reflect on Jesus as the one who leads, protects and loves His people. In the Book of Revelation it says

“The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. They will not hunger or thirstanymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
Today our world needs to hear the voice of the Shepherd. This becomes increasingly difficult when so many other voices clamor for our attention. We live in a world of violence as the tragedy at Virginia Tech reminds us. We live in a world that says “look out for number 1,” the one with the most toys wins, don’t get even, get ahead. In this world we can so easily miss the voice of the Shepherd that urges us “to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with our God.”

Next weekend our second graders will receive Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament for the first time. We pray especially for the parents of these children. May they be true Shepherds to lead their children to God. For the Word of God to be heard we need to create strong communities where the Word of God can be heard and celebrated. We speak a lot today of “safeenvironment” to protect our children. May our parish be one safe environment where the Word of God can grow in thehearts of our children.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - APRIL 29, 2007

Photo of Good Shepard Window from Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Tucson, AZ by Lars Hammer via flickr used with permission under a Creative Commons Licnese

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Upcoming Events at St. Luke's - APRIL 22-2007

It was nice to have Luc Willenberg join us for the Easter Vigil. It brought back good memories of the time he spent with us last summer. On May 12 he will be ordained a deacon at the Cathedral by Bishop Tobin.

The next morning here at 11:30 a.m. he will diaconate and preach at the liturgy. Afterwards there will be a reception in the parish hall. Here’s where you can help. We are asking parishioners to help with baking, setting up and with keeping everything flowing smoothly during the reception. If you can help please call Ann Marie at the rectory.

Also we will be instituting Communion under both species on the weekend of May 5-6. If you attended the Vigil you saw the procedure. To institute the practice we need a few instructional sessions. Here are 3 opportunities to come and learn the procedure:
Saturday, April 28th at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday, April 29th at 9:30 a.m.
Monday, April 30th at 7:00 p.m.

Please pick one of these sessions. Thank you!

I’m sure we are all anxious to see how Fr. Matt and our young people made out in Jamaica. In the days ahead we will be hearing from them.
Fr. Bob Hawkins - APRIL 22-2007

Monday, April 16, 2007

A wonderful Holy Week here at St. Luke’s - APRIL 15, 2007

It was a wonderful Holy Week here at St. Luke’s. So many people got involved in so many areas of parish life. A big thank you to the environment committee, Steve Kirby and the choir, the lectors, altar servers and reception committee.

Both on Holy Thursday and the Easter Vigil we offered Holy Communion under both species. We are planning to initiate this practice on a weekly basis starting the weekend of May 5-6. There will be some training sessions for our Eucharistic ministers.

Please keep Fr. Matt and the mission group in your prayers during this week. A big thank you to all who were so generous to this worthwhile cause.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - APRIL 15, 2007

Saturday, April 07, 2007

“Let him Easter in us” The Wreck of the Deutschland - APRIL 7, 2007

Gerard Manly Hopkins wrote a poem entitled The Wreck of the Deutschland. It concerned itself with five Franciscan nuns who were on their way to Missouri to do missionary work. Their ship sank in a terrible storm in the North Sea. The young nuns sacrificed their own lives so that others might be rescued. Hopkins ends the poem with this line: “Let him Easter in us,” be a dayspring to the dimness of us.

“Let him Easter in us” that we may live our lives in the light of his compassion and peace, his justice and forgiveness.

“Let him Easter in us” that we may be a people who live the life of stewardship; sharing our time, talent and treasure with others.

“Let him Easter in us” that we may bear our crosses for one another as he bore his cross for us.

Here Easter is used as a verb. In other words Easter is a way we think, we feel, something we do. Simply put Easter is something we “do” every day. Thank you to all who make our Easter celebrations so joyful here at St. Luke’s: to our choirs, altar servers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, environment committee, greeters, ushers. So many people living stewardship make Easter happen for all of us. We pray especially for our young people who will leave for Jamaica with Fr. Matt next week.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - APRIL 7, 2007

The image above, used with permission of the Wheaton Francisons shows a quilt which hangs in the Deutschland Chapel at the Motherhouse in Wheaton, Illinois and serving as a tribute to the five Sisters who perished in the wreck of the Deutschland.

The Shipwreck image by Jody9 via flickr under Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 )

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Triduum workshop - Principal Search - Rectory/Office project - MARCH 31, 2007

Thank you to all who participated in the Triduum workshop with Blessed Sacrament last Sunday. The spirit of the day was so joyful as we reflected on the beauty of the Triduum. It is my hope that the Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil liturgies be celebrated with great dignity and spirit this year. We will be receiving Susan Grieve and Carol Baggott into the Catholic Church as well as confirming them in our faith at the Vigil.

The search committee for the new principal is well on its way. We have narrowed the candidates down to four. By Easter we will hopefully have an announcement to make. It is very gratifying to know that there are so many talented people interested in Catholic education.

Finally on April 12 there will be a meeting concerning the rectory/office project. William Amberg (trustee), David Loftus (trustee), Paul Languirand (finance chair) and Carol Nelson from the Diocese will be in attendance. Work will begin once we have secured the necessary permits and have evaluated the various bids for the project. A big thank you to all whose contributions make this renovation possible.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - MARCH 31, 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Fostering a deeper appreciation of Holy Week - MARCH 17, 2007

On the next two Sundays we will be offering workshops that will foster a deeper appreciation of Holy Week. Next Sunday, March 25, from 3 -5 p.m. there will be a joint workshop with Blessed Sacrament for our liturgical ministries. It will take place in our parish hall and will highlight the key aspects of the Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Vigil services. On Palm Sunday, April 1, after the 11:30 liturgy we will have the “Wonder Trail” workshop in the school hall. This will be sponsored by the young mother’s group in our parish. The purpose of the workshop will be to highlight our Easter traditions. Key symbols of our faith: the Easter egg, lily, the lamb, etc. will be on display. At Advent we had a workshop that centered around the wreath. This was such a success we wanted to offer another growth opportunity for our young families.

A few months back we resurrected the ministry of greeter here at St. Luke’s. The following prayer expresses our desire to be a parish of welcome and hospitality:

“Welcoming God, teach us to be generous in offering hospitality. Help us to be welcoming as you are welcoming with reverence and care, mindfulness and respect. May our greetings be marked by sincerity and our actions be marked by tenderness. May all that we do for ourselves and others invite happiness and promise delight, seek peace and offer healing, encourage simplicity and share affection, acknowledge faith and extend friendship. Enlarge our hearts to embrace all people with love and bless our efforts to be hospitable.”
(Charlotte Zalot, O.S.B., The Fire of Peace)

Fr. Bob Hawkins MARCH 17, 2007
Photo by Caji from Kuwait via flickr under Creative Commons License (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 )

Sunday, March 11, 2007

God’s presence revealed in burning bush experiences - MARCH 11, 2007

In today’s reading from Exodus we encounter Moses and the burning bush. For Moses this is a deep religious experience as God reminds him that He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We all have had burning bush experiences in our life; the birth of a child, our wedding or ordination day. Lent is a good time to slow down enough to notice the signs of God’s presence and love all around us. Maybe it’s a matter of enjoying a sunset or delighting in a snowfall. Maybe God’s presence is revealed to you through family and friends. Maybe it’s a matter of setting time aside for prayer to listen to the voice of God. Whatever your burning bush is, don’t pass it by. Let it reveal God to you. Then your life will be changed. Then you will at least begin to reform and better reveal God’s presence to others.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - MARCH 11, 2007

Burning Bush Photo from Lenthall Chapel by Gill Poole via flickr

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Thank-you - Twice MARCH 3, 2007

As I write this brief note on Wednesday morning, I have just finished sorting through a mountain of mail. Most of the mail these days consists of sympathy cards. I never knew there were so many types of sympathy cards. Yet what all of them have in common is how lucky I am to have so many friends. Last year I received a thank you after attending a funeral. This note expresses the thoughts of my family.

“Perhaps you sent a lovely card, or sat in a chair.
Perhaps you sent us
beautiful flowers. If so, we saw them there.
Perhaps you spoke the kindest
words that any friend could say.
Perhaps you were not there at all, just
thought of us that day.
Whatever you did to console our hearts,
We thank you so much, whatever your part.”

Thank you to all who attended Father Creedon’s mission this week. Please keep me in your prayers as I preach a mission at Immaculate Conception Church in Cranston. Also, the search committee will meet for the first time this Thursday. Please keep that as well in your prayer intentions.
Fr. Bob Hawkins - MARCH 3, 2007

Saturday, February 24, 2007

We minister best when we are in touch, FEBRUARY 24, 2007

There is a powerful story told about Damien the Leper who brought the Gospel from Belgium to the Hawaiian Islands. In his early days as a missionary he would often say, “you lepers” as he addressed the infirmed. Then one day as he was bathing he noticed no feeling in his legs. He realized he too had contracted leprosy and so from then on always said, “we lepers.” He now could better identify with their pain and situation. Dealing now with the loss of my mother I know I will now be even more sensitive to those who grieve significant losses in their lives. We minister best when we are in touch with our own wounds and losses. I give thanks to God for having a mother filled with wisdom, integrity, warmth, humor and above all faith. My family is indeed blessed. Please remember my dad in your prayers. His care of my mother
in her long battle with Alzheimer’s has been nothing short of heroic.

Fr. Bob Hawkins- FEBRUARY 24, 2007

Sunday, February 18, 2007

We begin our Lenten journey - FEBRUARY 18, 2007

This week we begin our Lenten journey toward Easter. Here at St. Luke’s we try to promote ample opportunities to grow in our faith. Each Lent we add a 12:05 p.m. Mass Monday through Friday. On Fridays after Mass we pray together the Stations of the Cross. This Lent we will provide a Lenten booklet entitled, “From Darkness to Light” by Father Joseph Creedon. He will be a Mission retreat speaker from February 27 to March 1. His topic is “Faith Comes Alive – Revisiting Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist and Forgiveness.” All the sessions will begin at 7 p.m. and on Thursday evening there will be the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

I am asking all of you to keep in your prayers our search committee for a principal at St. Luke’s School. This will be going on throughout the Lenten season. During Lent I will also be giving a mission at Immaculate Conception Church in Cranston.

Lent is an old English word that means Spring. In Lent we take a fresh look at our faith in the hopes that it can better shape our lives. Let us pray for one another as we journey out of darkness into the Lord’s light.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - FEBRUARY 18, 2007

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Lenten Mission at St. Luke's Feb 27, 28 & Mar. 1 will feature Fr. Joseph Creedon from Christ the King

Presently I am on vacation in Florida with my father. When I return he will be coming with me to spend time close to my mother in the nursing home. I am looking forward to some quiet time before the busy season of Lent. Put aside February 27 and 28 and March 1 for our Lenten Mission. Fr. Joseph Creedon will be here as our speaker and he will not disappoint you.

A big thank you to Mike Sever and our marketing committee who did such a great job on the open house. The Mass went off perfectly as a packed church saw our school at its best. Please keep our principal search process in your prayers. Looking forward to seeing you all back here next weekend.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - February 3, 2007

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Portrait of Love Personified - JANUARY 27, 2007

At 80% of the weddings I preside at today’s second reading is chosen. It is the famous reading where Paul says, “love is kind, patient, not jealous, it is not rude or selfish…It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Walter Burghardt has pointed out that if ever a four-letter word could cry out against its abuse, that word is love. Love is the total gift of husband and wife to one another in marriage, but it is also used of a one night stand after a casual meeting in a single’s bar. Love describes a growing experience that never ends, as well as the fleeting experiences of doubling one’s pleasure with Doublemint Gum or enjoying a beer at the beach. We say we love one another, but we also say we love popcorn, pepperoni on pizza, our pets, our Patriots, our cars etc. Paul today challenges our abuse of this special word as he sets before us the verbal portrait of love personified. This love came alive in Jesus; it is this love to which each believer must aspire so as to be able to be his disciples.

Today we welcome all to our School’s open house. The purpose of St. Luke’s School is to share the love of Jesus. It is this love that we seek to teach and share with our students. Come and see the good things going on in our school. This week is also Catholic School Week. May the Lord bless our teachers, staff, aids, and benefactors.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - JANUARY 27, 2007

Saturday, January 20, 2007

An important year for St. Luke School - JANUARY 20-2007

This present year is an important one for St. Luke’s School. In June Julia Signore will step down as our principal and a search committee will be formed to find a replacement. Please pray that a competent leader can be found to continue our tradition of academic and spiritual excellence. Next Sunday we will have a special School Mass at 11:30 to begin Catholic Schools Week (Jan 29-Feb 3, 2007). Our Open House will follow the mass. Come and visit the School. Our marketing committee has done a great job in publicizing this event.

Fr. Bob Hawkins JANUARY 20-2007

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Epiphany journey toward God - JANUARY 6, 2007

This feast of Epiphany reminds me that all human beings are on a journey toward God. This God calls us all to a special intimacy with Him. It is out of this intimacy that we sense our connectedness to all human beings. This reality is hard to realize in a world so divided between rich and poor, Shiite and Sunni, Jew and Palestinian, Protestant and Catholic, Hutu and Tutsi. Our world is in desperate search to find solutions to our many divisions. The Epiphany calls us to ponder many questions:

How do we overcome barriers and obstacles to God’s love?

What word can I say that will overcome misunderstanding or alienation?

What gesture can I make to allow another to feel wanted?

What apology can I make to end a rift?

How can I move out beyond my comfort level to reach out to the alienated?

How can God’s love which is beyond borders be translated into my life?

Fr. Bob Hawkins - JANUARY 6, 2007