Sunday, November 02, 2008

Faithful Citizenship

I am writing early on Tuesday morning after a wonderful presentation last evening by Father Bernie Healey at our Men's Fellowship gathering. Fr. healey spoke of his ministry as the lobbyist for the Diocese of Providence. Perhaps more importantly, he spoke of the U.S. Catholic Bishop's document Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. This document is critical for all of us as we go to the polls this Tuesday.

The document highlights the importance of human dignity and the right to life, "the most fundamental human good and the condition for all the others". Issues that involve direct attacks on life itself, such as abortion or euthanasia or unjust war, therefore should be the first concern of Catholic voters. Our duty to protect innocent human life, they wrote, "has a special claim on our consciences and our actions".

Our Catholic Bishops remind us of the length and breadth of our moral responsibility:

"Catholic teaching about the dignity of life calls us to oppose torture, unjust war, and the use of the death penalty; to present genocide and attacks against noncombatants; to oppose racism; and to overcome poverty and suffering."

As election day approaches, may we take our civic and moral duties seriously. May God bless our country as we strive to be a beacon of God's light and justice in the world.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - November 2, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008


This weekend, we will hear short testimonies from fellow parishioners on how they live stewardship in their lives. The purpose of these short witness talks is to prepare us for the ministry fair next week. Stewardship is not complicated. It simply means we look into our lives to examine the gifts that God has given each one of us. Once found, those gifts are meant to be shared with others. Some share by reading at mass, others by decorating the altar, still others by becoming a part of a ministry or a committee. Please take the time to look over the inserts this weekend, "Discerning Gifts" and the "Ministry List". I invite you to come downstairs next weekend. As a result o last year's event, 83 new people became involved here at St. Luke's.

Saturday is the feast of St. Luke and so the 5 p.m. mass this weekend will highlight all the good work of our school as we celebrate our 50th year. Thank you to all who contributed to our annual fund. Envelopes will remain in the pews for the whole month of October.

I just returned from the Great Day of Service. Over 300 people were involved in work at 45 sites. It is so impressive to see so many people come forward to volunteer their time for others. St. Luke's aims to be an active supporter of Beyond Our Walls here in town.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - October 19, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Feast of the Cross: Life from Death

I will not be presiding here at liturgies this weekend because I am witnessing my oldest niece’s wedding at St. Agnes Church in Jefferson, New Hampshire. My good friend, Father John Lavin, recently retired, will be here to take my place. This weekend we celebrate the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross which reminds us of the central symbol of our faith. Because of Christ, profound love of the cross is the sign of our salvation and the cause of our joy. The crucifixion demonstrates that God loves us more than life itself. And the triumph of Jesus’ cross becomes the triumph of our crosses as well.

Sheila Cassidy is an American nurse who was jailed and tortured in Chile. Out of that experience, she wrote the following reflection:

“I believe, no pain is lost. No tear unmarked, no cry of anguish dies unheard, lost in the hail of gunfire or blanked out by the padded cell. I believe that pain and prayer are somehow saved, processed, stored, used in the Divine Economy. The bloodshed in Salvador will irrigate the heart of some financier a million miles away. The terror, pain, despair, swamped by lava, flood or earthquake will be caught up like mist and fall again, a gentle rain on arid hearts or souls despairing in the back streets of Brooklyn.”

This weekend we ponder on how our God brings life out of what seems like death. In all of our lives there are daily crosses and resurrections. Let us be there for one another as we bear our crosses and participate in the working out of salvation in our world.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - September 13, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Change: Reflect and Refresh

After the birth of Jesus, Mary is pictured as one who reflected on all the events happening in her life. I feel that need now to stop and reflect on all the recent events here at St. Luke’s. Events are happening so fast it is hard to digest them all - what with the departure of Father Matt and now the upcoming arrival of Father Luke. In addition, we welcome Adam Young our summer seminarian and also Christopher Pichette as our new youth minister. Our lives are a mixture of comings and goings. The only constant in life is change. Yet this change so often is creative and life-giving.

We have had a very eventful year here at St. Luke’s. I welcome the quieter pace of summer. May the calm of the season allow us to be still long enough to hear the quiet voice of God in our lives. Hopefully this summer I will have the time to get back to doing a bit more writing, reading and praying.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - July 5, 2008

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter - Let us be glad and rejoice

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 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 puton 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 - MARCH 23, 2008

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Welcome to Father Angelo Carusi visiting pastor from Blessed Sacrament Church

This weekend we welcome Father Angelo Carusi to our parish. Presently, he is the pastor of Blessed Sacrament Church in Providence. Blessed Sacrament is our sister parish in the city. This weekend while Father Angelo is here Father Matt is preaching in the city. Father Angelo is a native of Holy Angels parish here in Barrington. He attended local schools (Nayatt, Peck, and the High School). His seminary education took him to Regina Apostorium in Rome and Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmetsburg, Maryland. Father Angelo was ordained in 1998 and spent several years at St. Mary’s Church in Cranston. I just met Father Angelo when I was stationed at Sacred Heart Church in East Providence. We worked together on several Search for Maturity Retreats at the CYO Center. I am sure you will enjoy his presence among us.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - March 8 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Parish Feedback: Strenghen What We Have

Last week we had a very productive open parish meeting which was hosted by the parish council. The gist of the meeting was that we need to strengthen what we already have going on in the parish. Here is the listing of some of the suggestions:

  • Continue to offer opportunities for our young people to connect with the parish. People are especially enthused about our mission trip experience. A woman commented that young people like to “do” rather than just listen. At the meeting we talked about our plans to hire a youth minister.
  • Start a mentoring program for new parishioners. A veteran member would make contact with a new member of the parish.
  • Need for a volunteer coordinator.
  • Keep updating our web site and even have some of our young people help with the design.
  • Have a quarterly penance service.
  • Have seminars in adult education on themes like communication in marriage, how to
    pray, scripture studies, etc.
  • Make people aware of our Eucharistic adoration which occurs every Monday here at St. Luke’s.

I am very happy to be the pastor of this vibrant community. I am never bored!

Please support our mission this week as we welcome back Father David Gaffney.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - February 24, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Construction; Literally & Figuratively

As you read your reflections, I am away on vacation. It is good to get away from the noise, dirt and confusion of the rectory. As you know we are now under renovation. The progress has been very good over the course of the past few weeks. Our initial goals are to finish the new garage and the office area. Both Father Matt and I will now have offices on the first floor which will give us a better separation between our work and living areas. The next phase of the project will be the kitchen and an expanded dining room. We estimate the cost of the project to be $280,000. Every week we have had meetings with all those connected to the project.

On February 11 (Monday) at 7 p.m. in the church, there will be an open parish meeting. When I arrived in 2005 we had a very productive meeting where hopes and dreams for the parish were discussed. Now it is time to take a look at how far we’ve come and where we would like to continue to grow. Ed Caron, a personal friend, who works at Providence College will facilitate this meeting. As a leader I need to listen carefully to your ideas. Please come and join us on February 11th.

Fr. Bob Hawkins - January 27, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Respecting Life

As we celebrate Pro-Life Month, below are some recent statements with regard to showing respect for the dignity of human life.

Studies published…in the journals Cell and Science offer new hope for advancing stem cell research and therapies while maintaining respect for the dignity of human life.

Scientists in Japan and Wisconsin used four genes to “reprogram” ordinary adult human cells, creating “induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS cells)…Thus the goal sought for years through failed attempts at human cloning – the production of “pluripotent” stem cells that are an exact match to a patient – has been brought within reach by an ethical procedure.

The technology avoids the ethical landmines associated with embryonic stem cell research: it does not clone or destroy human embryos, (and) does not harm or exploit women for their eggs…This advance reminds us once again that medical progress and respect for human life are not in conflict…”

Cardinal Justin Rigali, Statement
on Stem Cell Breakthrough, Nov. 20, 2007

“The Church is not trying to impose Catholic doctrine on the world, but we are trying to invite our people to take seriously their obligation to vote in a way that respects the moral law, the natural law, and takes into account the common good, care for the poor, and particularly the Gospel of Life, which is always at the center of Catholic social teaching…”

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, commenting on
“Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship”, Nov. 15, 2007

Fr. Bob Hawkins - January 20, 2008

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Everyday Blessings

Several people have asked me for the blessing I used on Holy Family Sunday. It comes from Edward Hays' book Prayers for the Domestic Church. May this prayer be beneficial for all our families in the new year.

“Lord our God, you whose home is in heaven and on earth and in that undiscovered beyond, come and bless this house…Surround this shelter with your Spirit. Encompass all its four sides with the Power of your protection. Blessed be this doorway. May all who come to it be treated with respect and kindness. May all our comings and goings be under the seal of God’s loving care… Blessed be all the rooms of this home… May we truly live in it as people of peace… Bless this place where we shall eat. May all our meals be sacraments of the presence of God… Lord our God, may your name always be holy in our home…May God’s blessings rest upon us all… Amen.”

Fr. Bob Hawkins - January 12, 2008