Living the Faith: Jackie Maguire

GROTON -- Jackie Maguire is an optimist.

“My life has not always been perfect, but through my faith I have the knowledge that not a minute of my life is wasted,” she explained. “To me having faith means that everything has a reason and that I am always trying to work toward something.”

As coordinator of religious education for her parish community, Sacred Heart-St. James, Maguire, 46, sees that all her life experiences -- both good and bad -- “are accumulating into making me the person God wants me to be.”

Being a director of religious education is sometimes challenging, she admitted. Overseeing more than 700 children in a variety of settings, including traditional classroom instruction, home-schooled children, and age-level full family gatherings, Maguire is certainly busy.

Meanwhile, at home, Maguire and her husband Dennis, have three young children of their own.

“My husband and I try to set an example for our kids,” said Maguire. “It’s not so simple these days for kids.”

Maguire admitted it is sometimes frustrating to see people leaving the Catholic Church for other faiths.

“In Dunstable, where I live, there is no Catholic church, and sometimes I get a little frustrated because Catholics will go to the church in the center of town, but won’t drive down the street to the Catholic church,” she said.

This is one of the reasons her parish has begun to reach out to Catholics who were previously involved in the religious education program but have stopped attending regular Mass.

“We want them to always have that open-door feeling in our parish. For the past year or two, we have tried to keep them informed with everything that’s going on in the parish, so they know they’re always welcome,” she said.

Maguire also stressed the importance of keeping the traditions of the Church alive.

“I always convey how blessed we are to have these traditions,” she said. “I disagree with anyone who thinks that Catholics shouldn’t be traditionalists. We should be traditionalists. How foolish if we are not. We have this rich Church, with its rich history. We should always lean on that.”

Maguire praised her pastor, Father Paul Ring, for highlighting the importance of carrying on with tradition in the church. In addition, she lauded his ability to be pastor of a parish with two worship sites -- a task he does wonderfully, she said.

In 2003 the parishes of Sacred Heart and St. James were merged and both churches remained open as worship sites.

Being pastor of two churches “doesn’t mean you have a part-time pastor,” Maguire said, “It’s kind of like being a part-time mom, it’s just not possible.”