Sunday, December 27, 2009
During this season we receive cards from family members that so often include photos. Recent pictures of newborn babies, married couples, family reunions, summer days at the beach. In our liturgy the Church gives us a family album that includes shepherds, angels, magi, an infant, Mary and Joseph. If we look a bit deeper the season also includes the martyrdom of Stephen and Thomas Becket and the slaughter of the Holy Innocents. No wonder red is one of the Christmas colors. The question then becomes if embrace the Christ child it will cost us. Embrace a spouse, a ministry, a cause or a country and it will cost us. Simeon reminds Mary that her soul will be pierced with a sword. So during this joyful season our liturgy asks us how much blood have we spilt for Jesus? Do our choices and decisions make it obvious that Jesus is our Lord and savior? Are we in God’s family album?
At this sacred time I thank all of you for the many ways you live stewardship here at St. Luke’s. In this awful economy with job loss somehow we continue to reach out to others. In this past year the young have been educated, the bereaved comforted, the sick visited, the hungry fed. Day in and day out the Gospel is lived. For this I am thankful.
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Monday, December 21, 2009
Particularly in this Year of Evangelization, would Christ be dogmatic or tolerant? Everything we know about Christ would suggest the latter. Would he disown someone who led a good life but did not agree with Him on a particular issue? Would He want his religion to be “take it all or get out” or one that would celebrate event the smallest positive influence? Would He respect only the lives of just those who agree with Him or would He respect the lives of all sincere people?
The Lord gave individuals free will. The Catholic Church should give people the faith the moral foundation for exercising it. Free will cannot be exercised in a vacuum. Individuals have the responsibility to study moral issues, understand various points of view and make decisions consistent with their conscience. They should be steadfast in their beliefs, but tolerant of other responsible people who have different beliefs.
If St. Luke’s Church banned those who do not agree with every single Catholic rule, it would be a very small parish with very little impact. Thankfully it does not take that position and is a positive influence on many people’s lives. St. Luke’s should continue to promote forums where people can engage in a respectful dialog about complex moral issues. Tolerance will bring more people into the church; dogmatism will drive them away.
Peter & Adelaide Clifford
I appreciated Father Collins’ comments because they acknowledged, at least indirectly, that the issue of health care reform is not black and white for all of us. In my mind, the current debate involves competing moral principles. On the one hand, we have, “Whatsoever you do for the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” On the other, “Thou shalt not kill.” If one truly believes that health care reform, even with an abortion provision, is critical for the least among us, is it necessarily inconsistent with Church teachings? Obviously, reform that excludes abortions would be preferable, but since that option is not presented, which principle prevails? More importantly, why?
In this year of evangelization, the reaction to Father Collins’ remarks causes me concern. Are questions welcome? Is there room for dialogue in search of the truth of Jesus’ teachings? Is the Church bigger than abortion, or any single issue for that matter?
Lynn Barry Dolan
Thank you for your “Pondering” in the December 6 bulletin. I applaud Bishop Tobin’s constructive engagement with Congressman Kennedy. In other diocese and faiths, the congressman may have been expelled, excommunicated or shunned for promoting a practice so contrary to church doctrine. In my view, the public debate only served to strengthen support for the Bishop and weaken support for the Congressman.
On the matter of the Providence Journal, I can understand that you must read the paper to know what your parishioners are reading, however I have cancelled my subscription.
Make no mistake abortion is a serious moral failure. But not all people believe that. They don’t believe that abortion is wrong. In this pluralistic society we should not impose our moral views through legislation. That is the conundrum faced by Catholic legislators. But we can enact programs that provide financial aid and help to pregnant women in order to cut down on the staggering number of abortions.
Bishops who try to deny the Eucharist to Catholic legislators not in lockstep with Church teaching are taking a path they will regret. In fact their efforts are counterproductive. They should heed the advice of Archbishop John Quinn: bishops “confront the admittedly difficult task of balancing the need to uphold the sanctity of life while avoiding the enormously destructive consequences of the strategy of sanction and condemnation.”
The minds of abortion activists will never be changed by screaming and calling them “baby-killers.” We need dialogue and civility in the discourse. We need engagement rather than confrontation. As Pope John Paul II put it, “The goal of the Church is to make of the adversary a brother.”
Saturday, December 19, 2009
whose loved one has recently been deployed to Afghanistan? Human suffering has taken on unique forms during this sacred season. Right in the middle of Mary’s service to Elizabeth she feels “the infant leaping in her womb.” Yes our God comes between people as Martin Briber reminds us. During this season be attentive to your relationships. For it is there that “word becomes flesh and dwells among us.” Just a few quick notes about the upcoming week. Please notice Walter Fitzhugh’s “View from the Pew”. Father Luke and I will be available December 23 (Wednesday) from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for confessions. Think about stopping in on your way home from work or after running errands. Also notice the late evening mass for Christmas is a bit earlier now (10 p.m. instead of 11 p.m.)
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Monday, November 30, 2009
“Your editorial cartoon entitled “And on the Bishop Tobin/Patrick Kennedy War” raised deep emotions in me. It is not Bishop Tobin’s intent to drive people away from the church. As a matter of fact the Diocese has started a Year of Evangelization to reach out and invite Catholics back to the faith. Granted the Catholic message is a challenging one; respect for life from conception to natural death, the proclamation that marriage is a covenant between man and a woman, etc. It is the Church’s mission here at St. Luke’s and elsewhere to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, protect the stranger, educate the young. St. Luke’s parish is willing to work to make our town, state and world a just and peaceful place.”This week I finished helping with communion at the 11:30 Mass and I go to the side door and begin a quiet discussion with a cross country runner from Barrington High School. When the conversation is over I hear Father Collins talking about “ensoulment” and Thomas Aquinas. Then he continues to comment on the Tobin-Kennedy issue. The main point revolves around the issue of who is worthy to receive Holy Communion. Fr. Collins’ remarks provoke strong opinions; pro and con. Now it’s my turn to weigh in as pastor to this ongoing debate. First of all, Bishop Tobin’s letter of three years ago was a private, confidential letter. He asked, not told, the Congressman to refrain from communion. Bishop Tobin has said many times he did not instruct the 300 priests of the Diocese to refuse Congressman Kennedy communion. I support Bishop Tobin’s many efforts to promote health care legislation that will not directly fund abortions. I hate abortion with my whole heart and soul. It is respect for life from conception that is indeed the engine that propels us as a Church to promote the dignity of human life. It is our respect for life that sends missionaries to the disabled, forgotten children of Jamaica. It propels us to work at the soup kitchen at St. Charles, send donations to the Little Flower Home, bring communion to the residents of Orchard View Manor and engage in many other outreach efforts. If the Church does not speak for the voiceless who will? I find it providential that right after the Mass I drive to Holy Apostles Church in Cranston to concelebrate a Mass with Monsignor Gregory, the founder of Mustard Seed. Our Catholic Church continues to speak for the voiceless and the least of our brothers and sisters.
Father Ray Collins is a friend who taught me in seminary about applying the word of God to the events of the day. However, his remarks Sunday should have been presented in a letter to the editor of the Rhode Island Catholic or in an OP-Ed piece. Remarks after communion was not the proper forum. He is open to hear from you with your thoughts. His e-mail is: profRFcollins@cs.com; his phone is 401/783-4301.
The Church seeks to promote forums where people can engage in a respectful dialogue about complex moral issues. In this pondering I have attempted to shed light, not heat, on this controversial topic. A year ago I initiated “A View from the Pew” in our bulletin. About five people have offered reflections. Perhaps now more people will offer their opinions. Let us listen to each other and come up with constructive solutions to the moral questions of the day.
Fr. Robert Hawkins
Friday, November 27, 2009
This past Sunday we had our 10th Grades gather at the 11:30 Mass to start their retreat experience. I was so impressed to see our church packed with young people. The contemporary choir added so much spirit to the liturgy. On December 8, following the 7 p.m. Mass, there will be a meeting for those who would be willing to form a core group. This core group would co-ordinate our evangelization efforts. I feel we need at least 20 people if our program is to be effective. I hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving. We are absolutely blessed here at St. Luke’s with so many talents and blessing. May we express our thanks to God by caring for His people.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Late last Saturday night I returned from Blessed Sacrament with the adult missionaries. It was an experience that will live on in my heart forever. Never have I seen the utter enormity of human suffering. Young people with contorted bodies suffering from Spina Bifida, Cerebral Palsy, and other diseases. These are the “least of my brothers and sisters” that Jesus refers to in Matthew 25. Yet I also saw in the presence of the divine. Christ shines through the broken people of our world. As the week progressed I was able to adapt to the challenges of the week. The children are needy and like to be picked up and held. Some of them are very strong and can tax one’s back. One wonderful outcome of the week was the bond that was created among our group. We shared a desire to be of service. We were of one mind and one heart as we prayed and worked together. At night we sang, played “Catch Phrase”, processed the events of the day, and shared our experiences. Each one of us brought our talents in things like dental hygiene, nursing, painting, and yes even singing. We reached out to the caregivers who face immense challenges every day. Foot massages and pedicures, brought healing balm to these incredible people who live out the Gospel on a daily basis.
One added dimension of the week was a power point presentation given by Father Leo Shea, a Maryknoll father working in the Montego Bay Diocese. He shared the history and culture of the Jamaican people. Only 3% of Jamaica is Roman Catholic and yet the best schools in the country are indeed Catholic. We were amazed at the ease with which the caregivers prayed. They would quote long passages of the Bible by heart. Hymns were sung with great vigor and grace. St. Francis prays that it is “in giving that we receive.” Indeed our adult mission group received much from our time at Mustard Seed. It was due to the generosity and prayers of this parish that this trip was possible, so thank you to one and all. In the coming weeks Trish Cirillo, Mary Lally, Mary Nugent, Ann Molak, Ann Marie Thompson, and Doug Johnston will be sharing their experiences with the parish community.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
With the flu season approaching we have installed Purex containers at the three entrances to the church. If you are wary about shaking hands at the Kiss of Peace just wave or bow to your neighbor. This gesture is an important one as we visualize our unity before approaching the table of the Lord. Our symbols are important (Kiss of Peace, partaking of the bread and wine, etc.) and lead to a worship that is reverent and life giving. Hopefully our periods of silence at liturgy will create a prayerful environment at our masses. Please pray for our adult missionaries as we leave for Jamaica this coming Saturday. We all are a bit nervous but confident that we will receive many blessings from our time at the Mustard Seed community.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Saturday, October 17, 2009
In past years we have had ministry fairs here at St. Luke’s. This flows from our parish’s goal of living stewardship. To the degree that we use our time, talent, and treasure our parish will flourish. This year we are trying a new way to celebrate our vision. November 1st is the feast of All Saints. On this day we call to mind the universal call of holiness. This call comes to us through our baptism where we become God’s daughters and sons. On November 1st we will celebrate “All Saints, All Ministries”. At all the masses representatives from various ministries will bring forth gifts that represent their work. This extended offertory procession will focus on God’s spirit coming down on all these gifts and transforming them so that the work of the church can continue. After mass these gift bearers will be available to answer questions about their committee or ministry. By doing this we are putting “a face” to our many ministries. This whole process will be repeated at the 5:00 p.m. liturgy (only) on November 7th.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I have been following the complex health care debate going on in Washington. It is my fervent hope that universal health care can be achieved for our citizens. This, after all, has been the call that has come from our U. S. bishops. Bishop William Murphy, chair of the bishops committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development wrote: “It is a fundamental issue of human life and dignity.” So far I have been encouraged that what is being proposed is “abortion neutral”. Any direct funding of abortion by the federal government would be wrong. There is so much at stake at this time. The health care debate calls us to prayer, dialogue and civility. This is literally a matter of life and death for so many.
Lastly, we are looking for people to head up our evangelization efforts here in the parish. On October 10 at Providence College there will be a conference. The day will include opportunities for prayer, major presentations, and discussion on this important topic. If interested please call me at the rectory.
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Monday, September 07, 2009
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Catholic Church law used to forbid cremation, but it now makes allowance for the practice. The church recommends that the bodies of the faithful be buried, but it permitscremation if the reasons for choosing that method are not contrary to Christian teaching. Viewing the body of the deceased naturally recalls the person’s deeds of kindness and testimony of faith. It brings to mind our belief that the human body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and the heir to glory at the resurrection of the dead. Because of the reverence owed the body, the Catholic Church still prefers its burial at the time of death. When cremation is chosen, the remains merit the same respect accorded to the body. They deserve a worthy vessel and a respectful means of transport. There are several options for the funeral liturgy. For example, the liturgy may take place before cremation, so the community may pray in the presence of the body. In that case, the rite of committal would follow cremation. In other cases, cremation and committal may precede the funeral Mass. The funeral liturgy may also happen in the presence of the cremated remains, if permitted by the diocesan bishop. In that case, the Mass proceeds as usual, but covering the remains with a pall is omitted. The church strongly recommends that cremated remains be buried in a grave or entombed in a mausoleum or columbarium rather than scattered or kept in a private home. Public cemeteries call to mind the resurrection of the dead and focus our prayer for the deceased.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
“The priest is not an angel sent from heaven. He is a man chosen from among men, a member of the Church, a Christian. Remaining man and Christian, he begins to speak to you the Word of God. This word is not his own. No, he comes to you because God has told him to proclaim His Word. Perhaps he adulterates it. Perhaps he falters and stammers. Accept him as theFr. Bob Hawkins
messenger of Christ. Let your hearts and minds swell with the grace of God so as to hear in his human words – in his fumbling, miserable, colorless and often repetitious words-- the holy, blessed and powerful Word that brings God Himself and His eternal life into our midst. Pray for him. Carry him so that he may sustain others by bringing to them the majesty of God’s love revealed in Christ Jesus.” Karl Rahner
“The pastor teaches, though he himself must solicit his own classes and inquire after absentee pupils. He heals, although without medicine or scalpel. He is sometimes a legal advocate, often a social worker, something of an editor, and a bit of a philosopher or poet. He must alternate as an entertainer, salesperson, decorative piece for public functions and, through it all, he is expected to be a scholar. He visits the sick, officiates at marriages, buries the dead, consoles the sorrowful, admonishes sinners and tries to remain calm and cordial when criticized for not doing his duty. He plans programs, appoints committees, spends considerable time listening to problems and complaints. In between time, he does maintenance on equipment that should be replaced, prepares a homily and preaches it each weekend to the already converted and to critics of his insights and oratory then, on Monday, he smiles and remains silent when some jovial wag remarks, “what I wouldn’t do for your “cushy” job…one day a week. Ha!”The parish priest is called to be “Jack of All Trades, Master of None.” It is a life that is never boring and often exhilarating. For me the secret is to get people to step forward to share the many ministries of the Church. “Many hands make light work.”
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Saturday, August 01, 2009
When I was ordained to the priesthood in the chapel of the American College of the Immaculate
Conception in Louvain, Belgium, on June 28, 1959, I could hardly imagine that one day, in what then seemed to be a far distant future, I would celebrate the golden jubilee of my ordination. Even less could I imagine the journey on which fifty years of ministerial priesthood would lead me.
The one constant in my ministerial life, at least since 1972, has been my association with St. Luke’s. I always wanted to be a parish priest. You, the parishioners of St. Luke’s, have provided me with a base parish from which I could minister throughout the world. For providing me with a base and some stability in a peripatetic and largely academic life, along with so much personal support and so many memories during these fifty years, I want to thank each and every one of you.
As I look back to June 28, 2009, I want to thank all who participated in the Liturgy of Thanksgiving that I was privileged to celebrate in your midst on that day. I want to thank Fr. Bob, who “made” it happen, Fr. Luke, who is just forty-nine years behind me in priestly ministry, and Ann Marie, who put so much time and effort into the preparations. The liturgy was special. Steve Kirby and David Lauria, together with the members of the adult and contemporary choirs, made it so, as did the readers, Eucharistic ministers, and acolytes, to all of whom I am very grateful. The “simple” reception that followed the liturgy was attended not only by members of my family but also a good number of people who have been my friends for seventy years. All of them have spoken about the beautiful liturgy and the great reception. The reception could not have happened without a generous contribution of time and effort from the organizers, those who prepared the hall and food, those who served the food, and those who “cleaned up”. To all of you who made the reception happen I can only say, “Thanks so much.” Finally, I want to thank so many of you – including many who could not be present on the day of the liturgy – who expressed your support, congratulations, and best wishes in a card or note.
Thanks to all of you for so much.
Bishop William Murphy, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, sent a letter to Congress saying, “The USCCB (U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) looks forward to working with you to reform health care successfully in a manner that offers accessible, affordable and quality health care that protects and respects the life and dignity of all people from conception until natural death.” Abortion must not be included as part of a national health care benefit. No health care reform plan should compel us or others to pay for the destruction of human life, whether through government funding or mandatory coverage of abortion.” Bishop Murphy argued that any legislation should reflect longstanding policies “on abortion funding, mandates and conscience protections because they represent sound morality, wise policy and political reality.”
Underlining Bishop Murphy’s concern, 19 House Democrats sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi stating “we cannot support any health care reform proposal unless it explicitly excludes abortion from the scope of any government-defined or subsidized health insurance plan.” The Diocese of Providence requests that we contact both our Senators and our Congressman with the following message: “A fair and just health care reform bill must exclude mandated coverage for abortion, and uphold longstanding laws that restrict abortion funding and protect conscience rights.” It’s easy to do! Just call and politely leave the above message with the staff members who answer the phone. Make sure to give your name and address so they know you are a constituent!
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
(202) 224-2921 – Washington
(401) 453-5294 – Local office
Senator Jack Reed
(202) 224-4642 – Washington
(401) 943-3100 – Local office
Representative Patrick Kennedy
(202) 225-4911 – Washington
(401) 729-5600 – Local office
E-mails also can be sent to your legislators by visiting: nchla.org/action.asp
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Friday, June 26, 2009
Body of Christ. I do this by calling out the gifts of the parish community. Each person has so much to offer. To create an atmosphere where these gifts can be freely expressed goes to the heart of what I am about as a priest.
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Saturday, June 13, 2009
we had a car wash and Dribble-a-thon to assist this parish. Many of the players were refugees from Somalia and Kenya. These young people have survived unspeakable horrors and have been welcomed by this Catholic community of faith.
I’m so moved by this story because here at St. Luke’s we are concerned about the whole person. Besides providing a vehicle for young people to be involved with sports, we also want their souls and social conscience to be nurtured. I enjoy seeing our athletes being involved in our worship life. When our coaches practice their faith it gives such a powerful witness to our young people. Sports indeed can be an integral part of our evangelical efforts. Thanks especially to Peter Clements and John Duffy and all those engaged with the religious, social, emotional and physical welfare of our young
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Saturday, April 25, 2009
“I tell you, whenever you did this for the least of my people, you did it for me.” Matthew 25:40
In the spirit of this verse from Matthew’s Gospel, I am honored to share with you a short reflection about our Mission Trip to Jamaica. As most of you know last week Monday to Sunday, sixteen of us worked in Blessed Assurance, Montego Bay with the Mustard Seed Communities, helping to care for children with mild to severe physical and mental disabilities. The number of kids in Blessed Assurance tripled since last year which gave us plenty of opportunities to feed, bathe, change the diapers or just interact with those beautiful children.
We had a chance to do some heavy labor as well. In the severe heat, up to 90F, we were putting a cement sidewalk that connects dorms with a community building, digging a trench around the property and doing some outdoor painting.
The whole week in Jamaica was an eye-opening experience for all of us. I am sure that everybody came away with a broader perspective of the world and the kind of needs out there. I am also sure that all of us came back with that sense of joy that is part of serving in the name of Jesus and a renewed commitment to living a life of service. It was actually harder to leave than it was to be there.
Thank you all for your prayers and support!
I am grateful to the environment committee, the choir, our liturgical ministers, our greeters and to so many who give of themselves for our benefit. We enter now into the Easter season where we celebrate First Communion and Confirmation. May these sacramental moments lead us to be a community that evangelizes and brings people closer to Christ. I pray that our young children not only celebrate First Communion, but many regular communion besides. I pray that our Confirmation students be guided by the Holy Spirit to practice their faith on a regular basis. During the Easter season may a vibrant spirit be brought to all we do.
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Sunday, February 22, 2009
- Daily Mass at 7 and 12:05
- Stations of the Cross after Friday 12:05 Mass
- Parish Mission with Father Joseph Paquette on March 2, 3, and 4. The Sacrament of
- Reconciliation will be March 3 as part of the Mission
- In-pew solicitation for the Catholic Charity Fund Appeal. Our goal is $173,000.
- Immediate preparation for the Mustard Seed Missionary Trip to Jamaica.
- Rice Bowl collection on Palm Sunday, April 4 and 5.
- Please pray for our three RCIA candidates and catechumens who prepare for the
- Easter Sacraments.
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Bishop Tobin has requested that parishes take up the Catholic Charity Fund collection during the season of Lent. One of the major dimensions of the Lenten season is almsgiving. This weekend you will notice a special handout in our bulletin. Our in-pew solicitation will occur at all the masses on February 21/22. Our parish goal remains at $173,000. All of you are aware of the severe economic downturn. It will take a massive effort on all of us to reach this lofty goal. But I trust in the unbelievable generosity of the people of St. Luke’s. I know you will not let me or the poor in our Diocese down.
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Sunday, February 08, 2009
This past Sunday there was a whirl of activity here at church. Many people came out to seek Mary’s intercession as the Icon of Our Lady of Guadalupe visited our parish. This coincided with Greg Albanese’s presentation to our Confirmation class. He spoke to the consistent Gospel of Life. Topics such as chastity, abortion, Lenten penalty, stem cell research were presented. Mary is always present to us as one who brings us closer to the vision of her Son. A big thank to our pro-life committee, Father Luke and Diane Comerford who led our efforts.
Fr. Bob Hawkins
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Presently I am on my annual January vacation. When I was a child I hated the month of January. It meant going back to school! Now it is one of my favorite months as it gives me time to travel, rest and connect with friends.
Thanks to one and all who contributed so much to the spirit of Christmas here at St. Luke’s. I appreciateall your cards, gifts and prayers.
Fr. Bob Hawkins