Today, Saturday 7 November 2020, we celebrated the life of our brother Luke Rawlings OP.
Mass was celebrated at St Dominic’s Parish Blockhouse Bay by Fr Joe Parkinson. Wonderful music was led by Cecily Sheehy and friends – many of whom first became friends at St Benedict’s. This Mass was a roll call – the 5pmers, the St Paul’s Rongopai Community, Manna Community and of course the Dominican whanau. Luke brought us all together.
In the homily Fr Chris OP spoke of the struggles and opportunities of growing up in South Adelaide and how Luke’s family couldn’t be with us due to Covid restrictions. Amongst the stories Chris shared how religious life is about obedience for Dominicans. He spoke of the absolute obedience of Luke – the real discernment of Luke’s gift. Luke was not always popular as he would point out the inconsistencies or other failings of those around him. When Luke was ordained at age 26 (an early ordination) the Provincial said ‘what are you doing growing a beard?’ (You only wear a beard if you are going on mission). Luke said ‘what are you going to do about it?” He was never tripped up by fussy obedience but he practiced authentic obedience.
Luke had two stints in Sydney and worked in Solomon Islands. Luke was never blinded to the needs of others. He would go out in night patrols and help those in need. He had a collection of knives that he had taken off young people who had attacked him when they were in need of help. Chris was thrilled that the Funeral Directors put “Looking for Trouble” in the programme. This article shares something of how Luke always worked to support people in need.
Luke loved all animals – dogs, cats and birds. In the Solomon Islands his parrot would perch on the rafters, especially if he had stolen Luke’s cigarette and his dog was always the first acolyte leading the procession into the church. Even the animals were farewelling Luke today… amidst the silence during the Rite of Condemnation we could hear a chorus of birds singing.
St Martin de Porres is our patron saint for the mission. Luke died on the feast day of St Martin de Porres. Today we farewell Luke on the day we remember all Dominican Saints. We are all called to preach the word. As we send Luke off, his life, just like ours is a sermon in itself.
We give thanks for Luke’s ministry. May Luke rest in peace.
Click to download the Mass Sheet.