CUMBERLAND — The Reverend William F. Sears, 88, Senior Priest of the Diocese of Providence, died on Tuesday, June 21, 2016.
Born in Providence, son of the late Harold L. and Mary (Fraser) Sears, he attended St. Anthony School in Providence, St. Joseph High School and St. Joseph College in Callicoon, New York. He was ordained a permanent deacon of the Diocese of Providence on June 29, 1979. Then in preparation for the priesthood, he studied at Pope John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts and was ordained a priest on November 24, 1984 in the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul in Providence by Bishop Louis E. Gelineau.
Father Sears served as assistant pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Providence (1984-86); and at St. Patrick Parish in Harrisville in 1987. In September 1987, he became chaplain at the Newport Hospital with residence at St. Joseph Parish in Newport. Father Sears served also on the Board of Trustees of the Newport Hospital. In September 1993, he was appointed administrator of Our Lady of Victories Parish in Woonsocket and in November 1995 as chaplain in the Rhode Island Prison system in Cranston. Due to his deteriorating health, in March 1996 he became part-time assistant at St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish in Narragansett and in September 1997, he retired as a Senior Priest but continued to help out in various parishes of the diocese, especially at St. Aidan Parish in Cumberland.
In recent years, Father Sears resided at St. Aidan Rectory in Cumberland and at the Villa at St. Antoine, North Smithfield.
A Concelebrated Mass of Christian Burial for the repose of his soul was offered on June 24 at St. Aidan Church in Cumberland with Bishop Thomas J. Tobin as the main celebrant with Bishop Louis E. Gelineau other priests concelebrating. Rev. Donald L. Depatie, pastor of St. Aidan, was the homilist. Burial was in St. Francis Cemetery in Pawtucket.