I am the only son among six children of Michael Hughes and Hilda Meade and I was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. Educated in parochial schools of Philadelphia, I attended West Catholic High School and LaSalle Hall, graduating in 1958. In 1962, I encountered the Congregation of the Brothers of Charity. I was impressed with their spirit and tradition and joined their formation program. I attended LaSalle College and earned a BA in English, after which I taught for three years at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pennsylvania.
But the pull of the Spirit toward priesthood was very strong and after much prayer, soul searching and guidance, I made application to the Augustinian Order. The Augustinians seemed a perfect fit in terms of their spirit and traditions, as well as their diversity of ministries, which included secondary education.
I entered the novitiate of the Augustinians in 1971, was professed in 1972, and began preparation for the priesthood at Augustinian College in Washington D.C. I received an MA in Systematic Theology from the Washington Theological Union. Following my ordination in 1975, I was assigned to St. Nicholas of Tolentine High School in the Bronx, New York. The following year, I was appointed principal and guided the school through its reaccreditation and its 50th anniversary.
Still, I was longing for a parochial experience and I requested to be assigned to a parish. In 1980, I was assigned to St. Augustine Parish in Casselberry, Florida. While I was only there for three years, these were rich years, full in the blessings that flow from the diverse pastoral life a parish priest experiences, most notably from preaching and administering the sacraments.
When this assignment came to end, I returned to the education apostolate and I was again appointed principal, this time to St. John Neumann High School in Golden Gate, Florida, where I attained the young school’s first accreditation and raised funds to build a needed gymnasium.
A profound desire to return to parish ministry prompted me to request being reassigned to a parish. In 1989, I was appointed pastor of Resurrection of the Lord Parish in Dania Beach, Florida, where I enjoyed a dozen years of richly blessed ministry. Being entrusted with the pastorate of a parish was an honor, a challenge, and a richly rewarding experience. I received far more than I ever gave or deserved. It was a time of renewed spiritual awakening and growth.
In 1999, I returned to St. Augustine Parish in Casselberry, Florida; this time as pastor. Returning home was an unexpected blessing. This community, which had played such a critical role in my formation as a parish priest, welcomed me warmly. It was at St. Augustine I first preached the word, and performed my first wedding and baptism, all during my diaconate pastoral experience. In 2005, the Augustinians withdrew from St. Augustine Parish. Prior to our departure, I was able to launch a fundraising campaign to finance a total rebuild of St. Augustine’s Church.
Since 2005 to the present, I have served as pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal parish on Pine Island, Florida, a vibrant, seasonal parish, committed to stewardship. As with the other parishes I ministered to in Florida, Miraculous Medal boasts a high degree of lay involvement and a commitment to service scripturally based on Matthew 25.