Saturday, August 22, 2009

Year of the Priest August 16

Here is one of my favorite reflections on the priesthood. It is written by the famous theologian Karl Rahner. It really blends so beautifully the divine and human natures of the priesthood. The priest attempts to be an earthenware vessel of God’s grace and presence. Sometimes he is a fragile vessel in need of forgiveness and support; other times he is vessel that gets people on track with the grandeur of God.
“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 the
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
Fr. Bob Hawkins

Year of the Priest - Aug 9 2009

We have now entered the “Year of the Priest”. Throughout the year I will offer some reflections on priestly ministry in today’s Church. Several years back a survey was taken of pastors to see what kinds of activities occupied their time. One pastor wrote:
“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

Fr. Collins - on his association with St. Luke's parish

Dear Parishioners of St. Luke’s Parish,
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.
Fr. Ray


An important part of the health care reform being considered in Washington is the effect any legislation may have on the taking of innocent human life through abortion.

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: