Father Robert F. Hawkins, 74, Pastor Emeritus of St. Luke Parish, Barrington, died Thursday, December 15, 2022.
Born in Providence, Rhode Island, a son of the late Francis R. and Marion (McConnell) Hawkins, he attended Garden City Elementary School in Cranston.
In preparation for the priesthood, he studied at Our Lady of Providence Seminary in Warwick, and at the American College in Louvain, Belgium. He was ordained a priest on September 12, 1975 by Most Reverend Louis Gelineau.
Father Hawkins served as assistant pastor at Holy Trinity Parish, Central Falls (1975 – 81) and as administrator of the team ministry at Sacred Heart Parish, East Providence (1981 – 87). In 1987, he was named pastor of Our Lady of Mercy Parish, Waterloo, Belgium, and served there until 1992, when he was appointed Chaplain at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston.
In 1996, Father was appointed administrator of the team ministry at St. Kevin Parish, Warwick, and then pastor of St. Kevin Parish. In 2005, Father Hawkins became pastor of Saint Luke Parish, Barrington, and remained there until July 1, 2018 when he retired as pastor emeritus.
In addition to his parish work, Father served on the diocesan Grievance Board; as chairman of the Seminary Advisory Board (1985 -87); Continuing Education of the Clergy Fund Advisory Board (1994 – 2000); the diocesan Implementation Committee (1995); diocesan Director of Campus Ministry (1996); Council of Priests (1999 – 2002; 2003 – 06; 2006 – 09; 2019 - present); Priests Personnel Board (2003 – 05; 2006 – 09; 2013 – 16); College of Consultors (2000 - 05; 2006 – 11; 2019 - present); Our Lady Queen of the Clergy Advisory Board (2012 – 14).
Father completed sabbatical studies at the Washington Theological Union, Washington, D.C., in 2005.
Father Hawkins had a knack for remembering names. He said his parish family is ever evolving, from baptisms, sacraments of communion and confirmation, weddings and funerals — he got to know his parishioners and help celebrate their joys and sorrows. His immense love for his family and parishioners shone through in everything he did. He was honored and proud to lead St. Luke School, a blue ribbon parochial school, for many years.
Father Hawkins was a passionate New England sports fan, a great cook and lover of classical music. For most of his life he was an avid runner and later in life he enjoyed long walks on the beach at Cape Cod and hikes in the White Mountains with family. One of his greatest pleasures was to go to Cape Cod and New Hampshire to visit his family. His friends and family meant the world to him.
In retirement, Father Hawkins resided in Bristol, and assisted regularly at St. Mary of the Bay Parish, Warren.
He is survived by a sister, Mary Ellen (James) Brady of Jefferson, NH; a brother, Stephen M. (Kim) Hawkins of Indian Rocks, FL; five nieces and nephews, Sarah Brady Clark, Ellen Hoverman, Kerry Beth Brady, Stephen M. Hawkins Jr. and Corey A. Hawkins and six great nieces and two great nephews. He was the brother of the late Charles M. Hawkins.
A Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Wednesday, December 21, 2022 at 10 a.m., at St. Luke Church, Barrington. Burial followed in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Providence.
Contributions in Father Hawkins’ memory to St. Luke’s School, 10 Waldron Avenue, Barrington, RI, 02806 would be deeply appreciated.