Marian Sears. Courtesy photo
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HANOVER -- “There’s nothing like being a Catholic,” according to Marian Sears, parishioner at St. Mary of the Sacred Heart in Hanover. “If you understand your faith and take it seriously then you’ll lead a happy life.”
For the past 42 years, Sears has been a parishioner at St. Mary’s, not only attending Mass there, but sharing “whatever gifts and talents I have had” with her parish. Over the years, Sears, 66, has been the parish secretary, a eucharistic minister and a religious education teacher -- a service she has performed for over 30 years. In addition, she has served on a variety of committees.
Sears is currently involved in the parish’s RCIA program, helping four candidates become full members of the Church this Easter. “It’s great to be a part of the [RCIA] team,” she said. “We all learn something every time.”
A native of Medford, Sears was raised by a Catholic father and a Protestant mother, who became Catholic just before her death. She attended Sacred Heart High School, where she met her future husband, Jack Sears. Shortly after their marriage, the couple settled in Hanover, where they raised their family. Now retired, Sears also worked as an administrative assistant at Boston College High School for 17 years.
Through it all, Sears has always turned to her parish to nourish her faith.
Her parish was the pillar on which she relied while raising her four children. It was her stronghold when her husband of 39 years, passed away five years ago. And it continues to be an important aspect of her life, even though she no longer lives in Hanover, but instead lives 25 minutes away in Bridgewater.
“St. Mary’s has given me the spiritual nourishment that I need every day,” she said.
“Even though I have moved from the town, I still find myself returning to this loving and caring community. You might say that I am spiritually nourished by this parish both in the liturgy and in the specialness of the people,” Sears said.
“We have been blessed over the years with some wonderful priests, and some wonderful lay people as well,” she added.
One of those wonderful priests is Father Christopher Hickey, her current pastor, who “has a special place in my heart,” she said.
“Because of the vitality and vibrancy of Father Chris, there’s something for everybody at St. Mary’s,” she said.
She praised Father Hickey’s ability to relate to youth, particularly to teens in the LifeTeen program, noting that often teens are not very excited about their faith, but that Father Hickey has the ability to bring them into the church and get them excited about being Catholics.
That “specialness about his own spirituality” has been a magnet for many people, she said.
According to Sears, “Father Chris has brought back many, many people in their 30s and 40s with their children,” something she believes is necessary for the faith to be passed on to the next generation.
“My generation has done the best we could with the knowledge we had,” she mused. “Now it’s time for a new generation to pass the faith onto their children.”