Fr. Matthew Hawkins was born in Miami and raised in Orlando. He attended local schools and entered the University of Florida where a friend introduced him to the Catholic Church, eventually converting to Catholicism. After graduation, he worked for a number of years as an engineer in Texas. Discerning a call to religious life, Fr. Hawkins entered St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary in Boynton Beach by way of a Franciscan community. During seminary, he helped develop Faith Fit, a free app of the Diocese of Orlando offering podcasts, prayers and programming.
Fr. Matthew was ordained on May 25, 2018, and he has served at St. James Cathedral since his ordination. He also serves as director of ecumenism for the diocese.