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Living the Faith: Ellen Geary

By Donis Tracy Pilot Correspondent
Posted: 2/6/2009

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Ellen Geary is pictured with her husband, Dennis, and her four children in 2008. Pilot photo/ Courtesy the Geary family

NEWTON -- Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish has been there for her throughout her life. As a baby, she was brought to it by her parents. As a child, she attended Mass there with her eight brothers and sisters. As a young mother, she brought her four children to it for their faith formation. And now, at 46, it is still the place Ellen Geary turns to in order to nourish her faith.

“For me, it’s home,” said Geary, speaking from her Newton home. “It’s very easy for me to be there.”

In addition to being a regular communicant, Geary also is a substitute religious education teacher.

“Ours is a warm and welcoming parish,” she said, adding that in recent years the parish has welcomed the Tridentine Mass community.

Although Geary does not attend the Tridentine Mass herself, she noted that quite a bit of Latin, in the form of songs and prayers, is being incorporated into all the parish’s Masses.

“That has been quite a change,” she said, adding that other changes have also occurred throughout the years. Most notably, she said, the parish demographics have changed quite a bit because there are not as many families living within the bounds of the parish.

Geary praised her pastor, Father Charles Higgins, for his devotion to the parish.

“He is a lovely man,” she said, “who tries to be out there and acceptable for everybody.”

She also noted that he has set about renovating the church building, noting that during the parish reconfiguration process, many people feared that Mary Immaculate of Lourdes was going to be shuttered.

“It is heart-warming for me to see the church restored,” she said. “Being the mother church in Newton, it is great to see it restored.”

Geary credits her faith with giving her peace and comfort in her everyday life.

“My faith is who I am,” she said. “Everything I am is because of my faith. Everything I do I do because of my faith. My faith is my life.”

Outside of her parish, Geary and her husband of 24 years, Newton police officer Dennis Geary, are parents of four children between the ages of 21 and 10, all of whom are active parishioners at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes parish.

“In our house, going to weekly Mass is a requirement,” she said. “The rule is, ‘If you live here, you need to go to Mass.’ And they all do. They might be fussing when they have to get up early, but when they come home they are always happy to have gone.”

Geary works as a preschool teacher for a nursery school in Newton -- a job she adores in part because of the flexibility it gives her.

“I can both work and be at home for my kids. I love it,” she said.

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Newton

Year established -- 1870

Pastor -- Father Charles Higgins

Parochial Vicar -- Father Robert Shaldone

Visiting Priests -- Father Alvaro Silva,

Father James Clark

Religious Education Director -- Jean Johnson

Latin Mass Catechism program coordinator -- Patti Strom

Music Director -- Bobbi Hoffman

Parish Secretary -- Margie Bibbo