Jesuit Father Donald A. Hawkins passed away on Dec. 30, 2013, in Opelousas, La. He was 67 years of age, a Jesuit for 48 years and a priest for 37 years.
Fr. Hawkins was born on Aug. 27, 1946, in Mobile, Ala. He graduated from McGill Institute in Mobile in 1964 and attended Spring Hill College. After entering the Society of Jesus on Aug. 14, 1965, at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La., he returned to Spring Hill College, earning a B.A. in English in 1970. He later earned an M.A. in English from the University of Texas in Austin. He completed theology studies at Regis College in Toronto, where he earned a Master of Divinity in 1976 and a Master of Sacred Theology in 1977. He was ordained a priest on June 5, 1976, at Spring Hill College, and he pronounced final vows on Jan. 1, 1982.
Fr. Hawkins’ early work was in the area of secondary education. He was a member of the faculty of Jesuit High School in New Orleans from 1970-1973, from 1977-1980 and from 1989-1998. He taught English and theology and later served as chair of the theology department, director of campus ministry and school chaplain.
He returned to St. Charles College in 1981, where he became the assistant director of novices, directed retreats at the Jesuit Spirituality Center and assisted with campus ministry at the University of Southwestern Louisiana. In 1985 he was missioned to Holy Name of Jesus parish in New Orleans as a parochial vicar. In 1998 he was appointed rector of the Jesuit Community at Spring Hill College and served as director of campus ministry.
Fr. Hawkins returned to New Orleans as a parochial vicar, first at Immaculate Conception parish in 2001, then at Holy Name of Jesus in 2004. He served as pastor of Holy Name from 2007 to 2013. Prior to his death, he was once again assigned to St. Charles College, where he briefly worked as a retreat director at the Jesuit Spirituality Center.
Fr. Hawkins was an enthusiastic student of Jesuit history, particularly New Orleans Province history, and had a lively concern for interfaith efforts. He employed these interests as the New Orleans Province archivist from 2001 to 2004, as province consultant for ecumenical and interfaith matters and as an ecumenical officer for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. He authored a booklet “Church on the Park, Holy Name of Jesus.”
He is preceded in death by his parents, Donald Averill and Anne Battle Hawkins.