Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sensing God's presence in our lives - June 13, 2010

"We had the experience but missed the meaning" T.S. Eliot
This line from Eliot is on my mind this morning as I ponder the events of the last few weeks. So much happens this time of year that speaks of transition and moving on. High school graduates move on to college. Our eighth graders leave our school after being here for as much as 11 years (counting pre-school). A few weeks back 95 students were empowered by the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. I go to many anniversary and graduation parties during this time. In all of us do we sense the presence of God appealing to us to sense His presence in our lives? Are we thankful for God's gifts? Are we developing our God-given potential? In this year of evangelization are we inviting our fellow parishioners to a deeper involvement in our parish life?

A big thank you to Diane Comerford who did a fabulous job organizing our Baccalaureate Mass. Through her efforts may our high school seniors sense that God is near to them in all their endeavors. Also, thank you to Maureen Jannetta, our school principal, as we end another year of instruction. So many people, experiences, relationships enrich our parish life here at St. Luke's. Thank you to all who live stewardship each day.
Fr. Bob Hawkins

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Reflections on Catholic education

Recently the local press reports that two more Catholic schools are closing this year: St. Matthew’s in Cranston and Holy Ghost in Providence. Changing demographics, rising healthcare costs, weak economy are all highlighted as reasons. Catholic education is becoming less present in our cities and working class areas. With each closing I begin to ponder where will this all end. Here at St. Luke’s we are lucky with our excellent principal, dedicated teachers and active parent base. Our 270 students are exposed every day to Gospel values in a nurturing environment. But for this to continue we need to be vigilant. In past days the Church was rich in personnel. Plenty of priests, nuns and brothers taught in our schools for practically nothing. Treasure was minimal but religious talent was abundant. Now the situation has changed. The Catholic population has risen in status. We populate professions like medicine, law and business. We are richer in treasure, weaker in time and professional talent (fewer priests, nuns, brothers). This does in no way denigrate the talent and dedication of our lay teachers. Will those with treasure support the ministry of Catholic education? Every once in a while I see bumper stickers on cars that say, “I survived Catholic School.” Everybody laughs a bit and gets the joke. I personally did not survive Catholic school – I thrived! Perhaps if more people told their stories of thriving in our schools we will see a resurgence in this important ministry in our day.

Fr. Bob Hawkins

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A fulfilling ministry - May 30 2010

I spent today doing some follow-up with families who have lost loved ones recently. I find it a fulfilling ministry to check in with people after funerals and hospitalizations. So often grief comes in waves for people. No two people grieve in the same way. Some people stay busy visiting lawyers and banks to change names in important documents. Others take a trip to be near an adult child who lives out of town. Some retreat into solitude and spend time in church or the cemetery. One of our vibrant ministries is our bereavement group that organizes luncheons after the funeral, knits a shawl for those who are ill, plan our Annual Mass of Remembrance at All Souls’ Day. In the future some members will accompany Fr. Luke and me to wakes. Many years ago I remember a seminary staff member telling us to be kind to people when they are sick, grieving, and in need of help. Somehow this gives me more joy and meaning than many of the administrative tasks that go along with pastoring. Pray that I never forget what my seminary professors said many years ago.

Fr. Bob Hawkins