New Hampshire Catholic college eyes move to Groton

BRAINTREE -- The Thomas More College of Liberal Arts may be adding its name to the ranks of Catholic colleges in the Archdiocese of Boston in the near future.

Thomas More College (TMC), a four-year Catholic liberal arts college currently based in Merrimack, N.H., is taking steps to relocate to Groton. If all goes according to plan, the college would be operating in Massachusetts by 2013 or 2014.

"I'm hoping that it all works out," said TMC President William Fahey. "I really like the Groton location. It's a nice spot."

The college is in the process of purchasing property along Old Ayer Road in Groton, known by locals as the Bates property or the J. Geils Farm. The property was once owned by John Geils of the J. Geils Band.

However, the college would still maintain its Merrimack location, using it as a graduate school.

Fahey said the need to move is primarily based on the need to increase enrollment. He noted that current enrollment numbers do not allow for solid economies of scale and generating a strong enough revenue stream from tuition alone.

Fahey said that four years ago, the college's Board of Trustees authorized administration to expand the college to 300 students.

"We've needed a site that would allow that," Fahey said.

Currently the college enrolls 80 students on its Merrimack campus which is zoned for 95 students, Fahey said. He anticipates that next year enrollment will reach the maximum allowable there.

While 300 students would represent a nearly 200 percent increase to its current levels, the number would maintain the current social characteristics of the college.

"On the social side, 300 is very intimate and familial," Fahey said.

He said moving to Groton could allow the college to revive a former program that brought adults onto campus for continuing education in Church or cultural topics that paralleled subjects being discussed in the curriculum.

The property in Groton is also attractive to Fahey for geographic reasons.

The land is surrounded by over 100 acres of restricted agricultural land, Fahey said, which state statutes protect from being used for non-agricultural purposes.

Fahey noted that the property would afford students easy access to the center of town and public transportation.

"It's nicely situated for public transportation while still being protected and keeping the rural feel we want to have associated with Thomas More College," Fahey said.

As part of the move, the college is also planning to move Sacred Heart Church from its current Groton location to its new property for use as the college's chapel.

The building that became Sacred Heart Church was originally part of the Groton School, an Episcopalian boarding school in Groton, but was gifted to the Archdiocese of Boston.

In 1904, the church moved from the school to its current location in Groton.

Sacred Heart Parish merged with St. James Parish, in West Groton, about a decade ago. When Sacred Heart-St. James Parish merged with St. Joseph's in Pepperell in 2009 to form Our Lady of Grace Parish, the Sacred Heart building fell into disuse.

Father Paul Ring, pastor of Our Lady of Grace Parish, which includes Groton, said a tentative agreement has been reached where Thomas More College would receive the chapel as a gift and they, in turn, would pay costs associated with moving the building to campus.

Father Ring said that a reopening of Sacred Heart Church is welcomed by Catholics in Groton.

"Many of my people are excited about the prospect of Sacred Heart as a worship site again," he said. "It's a positive thing for the people."

Groton Town Manager Mark Haddad said the town wants to purchase the Sacred Heart property for use as a fire station.

Haddad also said he is enthusiastic about Thomas More coming to the area.

"I'm very excited about it," he said. "I think it's a wonderful fit for the community."

Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Stanford University to remove saint's name from some properties

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- California's Stanford University will strip the name of 18th-century Franciscan friar, St. Junipero Serra, from some of its properties ...

Catholic Charities distributes disaster relief to areas hit by Florence

RALEIGH, N.C. (CNS) -- The Carolinas were hard hit with record rainfall and flooding rivers from tropical storm Florence since it made landfall Sept. ...

Archbishop Lori assures diocese he's with them in journey toward healing

WHEELING, W.Va. (CNS) -- In his celebration of Mass at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Wheeling Sept. 15, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore said ...

Bishop takes a (sky) dive to get pilgrims to Lourdes

HOVE, England (CNS) -- "The Moth has landed," tweeted the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. The tweet Sept. 14 and a similar post on the diocesan Facebook ...

Words, promises are not enough to prevent abuse, archbishop says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Inviting presidents of the world's bishops' conference to the Vatican to discuss abuse prevention reflects an understanding that ...

Pope praises Capuchin order's charism of authenticity, simplicity

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Capuchins are called to be men of peace, reconciliation and prayer and to be close to all people, Pope Francis told members of the ...

Path to healing starts with seeking forgiveness, Cardinal Wuerl says

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A "Season of Healing" for sexual abuse survivors began in the Archdiocese of Washington with a Sept. 14 Mass at the Cathedral of St. ...

Archbishop McCarrick's unofficial role in Vatican-China relations

Vatican City, Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Following reports that the Holy See and the People’s Republic of China could be about to sign an agreement ...

Archbishop Chaput: When we forget faith, we forget our humanity

Spokane, Wash., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- When man tries to cling to reason and separate himself from faith, he forgets who he is and loses his source of hope, ...

Pope Francis warns priests against living a double life

Palermo, Italy, Sep 15, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- During a day trip to Sicily Saturday, Pope Francis told priests and religious to fight their vices and strive ...

What is the pontifical secret?

Vatican City, Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Following the allegations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò about the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, ...

Vatican publishes list of synod participants, including papal nominees

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, ...

Addicts and their loved ones talk about life with opioid addiction

ARLINGTON, Va. (CNS) -- It was a Saturday night, and Billy was eating pizza and watching a sporting event in the basement bedroom of his residence, a ...

Signers of letter hope Vatican meeting will bring needed steps on crisis

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Signers of an open letter from Catholic women to Pope Francis urging "truth" and "transparency" on the growing sex abuse crisis expressed ...

Community 'overwhelmed and shell-shocked' after gas explosions, says pastor

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Down to earth: Vatican brings together world's meteorite curators

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy (CNS) -- Rocks, mineral debris and even dust from space are kept in special collections, museums and laboratories all over the ...

Algerian martyrs to be beatified in Algeria Dec. 8

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The beatification of 19 martyrs of Algeria, including the seven Trappist monks of Tibhirine, will be celebrated Dec. 8 in Oran, ...

'Anything but a picnic' - Cardinal Dolan on the Church's summer of scandal

New York City, N.Y., Sep 14, 2018 CNA.- Cardinal Timothy Dolan has spoken about how the extended sexual abuse scandals facing the Church have taken a ...

Restoring and reimagining: Transformation at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross

BOSTON -- Considered by many to be the heart of the Archdiocese of Boston, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross is the largest Catholic church in New England, ...

Archdiocese says Cardinal O'Malley will personally review all abuse letters

BRAINTREE (CAN) -- The Archdiocese of Boston has announced changes to the way it will process and respond to letters addressed to Cardinal Séan P. ...

CM receives $2.5M grant from Yawkey Foundations

West Roxbury -- Catholic Memorial, a college-preparatory school for boys in grades 7 to 12, announced Sept. 5 that they have received a $2.5 million grant ...

Father Christian Ohazulume removed from ministry

BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese announced on Sept. 11 that it had removed a priest from ministry after receiving an allegation that he sexually abused a ...

From Cardinal Seán's blog

This week I am in transit to Rome in anticipation of the next meeting of the C9 Council of Cardinals. So, I have asked Vivian Soper to share some reflections ...

Kavanaugh's birth control comments spur controversy -- What did he say?

Washington D.C. (CNA) -- Opponents of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have suggested that a reference to birth control pills as "abortion-inducing drugs" during ...

Missouri to enforce abortion regulations in wake of appeals court ruling

Jefferson City, Mo. (CNA) -- Missouri's health department announced Monday that it will immediately being enforcing state laws regulating abortion clinics ...