Father Allan Hawkins, trailblazing pastor and superb homilist, dies at 89

North Texas Catholic
(Oct 6, 2023) Local

FLOWER MOUND — Father Allan Raeburn Giles Hawkins, retired pastor of St. Mary the Virgin Parish in Arlington and a weekend minister at St. Philip the Apostle Parish in Flower Mound, died October 4 at the age of 89.

A funeral Mass will be held on Wednesday, October 11 at 11 a.m. at St. Philip the Apostle Parish, 5201 Cross Timbers Road in Flower Mound.

Fr. Hawkins served as pastor of St. Mary the Virgin Parish for more than 30 years. After his retirement in 2012, he participated in sacramental ministry at St. Philip the Apostle Parish, celebrating weekend Mass and hearing confessions regularly.

Father Raymond McDaniel, pastor of St. Philip the Apostle, said Fr. Hawkins will be deeply missed. “He really knew how to reach people with his beautiful homilies and his example of a deep and mature faith,” he said.

“People would rave about his homilies,” according to Fr. McDaniel, who said Fr. Hawkins would frequently include stories of his childhood in England, a bit of a poem or hymn, or a quote from a saint.

The son of Doris Mary (Jones) Hawkins and Rev. Raeburn Simpson Hawkins, a parish priest in the Church of England, Fr. Hawkins was born on March 20, 1934, in Manchester, England.

Fr. Hawkins (Courtesy Photo)

His early education was periodically interrupted by the bombings of World War II and subsequent relocations. Upon reaching adulthood, he became an officer in the Royal Army Service Corp., followed by theology studies at Cambridge University and Cuddesdon Seminary in Oxford, England.

He was ordained a priest for the Church of England in 1961 and served consecutively in three parishes in England. In 1980, he moved to Arlington, Texas to be rector of a small Episcopalian parish, then called St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.

Fr. Hawkins and his congregation wanted to embrace Christ's prayer "that they may all be one" and were aware of St. John Paul II’s Pastoral Provision, an arrangement by which Anglican priests and congregations could enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

In 1991, by a vote of 97-3, Fr. Hawkins and his congregation voted to leave the Episcopal Church and seek incorporation into the Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth. Renamed St. Mary the Virgin in 1986, the parish was the first Episcopal parish to enter the Catholic Church as a whole: pastor, people, and property.

Fr. Hawkins was ordained as a Catholic priest by Bishop Joseph Delaney on June 29, 1994, and served as pastor of St. Mary the Virgin Parish until his retirement.

The decision to break from the Episcopal Church came after much teaching, prayer, and discussion; it “made him kind of a trailblazer,” said Fr. McDaniel, who praised Fr. Hawkins for both his boldness and his humility “to change your course at that point in your life.”

Fr. McDaniel said that Fr. Hawkins was “a great friend and mentor” when Fr. McDaniel converted to the Catholic faith, discerned a call to a priestly vocation, and enrolled in seminary.

Monsignor Timothy Perkins, vicar general of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (a diocese-like body for former Anglican clergy and communities now finding their home in the Catholic Church), remembers Fr. Hawkins and his wife, José, as “tremendously hospitable people.”

On numerous occasions, Fr. Hawkins and José hosted dinner at their home for “those of us in the Anglican world who were asking questions about what our way is forward. He provided great strength and encouragement for those of us who were working for what became the Ordinariate. It’s hard to overestimate his influence,” Msgr. Perkins said, calling Fr. Hawkins a “pioneer.”

According to Msgr. Perkins, Fr. Hawkins faith was “profound, and always questioning, always thinking — to deepen his faith.” He enjoyed a good argument, undergirded with Christian charity, in the pursuit of truth.

Fr. McDaniel said, “He cared a lot about the truth of the Catholic faith and the beauty of liturgy. But those were means to an end — to be close to Jesus Christ and to draw people closer to Jesus Christ.”

Fr. Hawkins had a special devotion to Blessed Karl I of Austria, the last emperor of the House of Habsburg to rule over Austria-Hungary. In 2019, he became a knight of the Habsburg dynastic Order of St. George and served on its spiritual council.

Fr. Christopher Stainbrook, current pastor of St. Mary the Virgin, said that “Fr. Hawkins’ fingerprints are still on the parish,” particularly in its shrine to Blessed Karl I, a rarity in Texas.

Fr. Stainbrook added, “He was an exemplary priest. He modeled holiness and touched the lives of tens of thousands of people in North Texas.”

Fr. Hawkins was preceded in death by his father and mother; his sister, Barbara, and her husband, Dr. Frank Field; and his in-laws Arthur and Ella Allen. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, José; his son Giles Hawkins and wife Felice; his daughter Sarah Rice and her husband Neil and their two children Samuel and Thomas; and two nieces, Elizabeth Mary Flackett and Catherine Murray of England.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, please make donations to the building fund of St. Philip the Apostle, Flower Mound, Texas in his memory.

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