Groome Chosen to Head Institute of Religious Ed.

Groome Chosen to Head Institute of Religious Ed.

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

Prof. Thomas Groome (Theology), noted Catholic scholar, commentator and author of a series of influential books on Christian education, will become director of Boston College's Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry.

Thomas Groome
He is to succeed Assoc. Prof. Mary Ann Hinsdale, IHM (Theology), who is stepping down at the close of the summer session after three years as IREPM director. Sister Hinsdale plans to go on research leave this fall to finish a book, Power and Participation in the US Catholic Church: Ecclesiology from the Margins. She is to spend the spring semester of 2004 as a distinguished visiting professor in the University of Dayton's doctoral program in the American Catholic Experience, and return thereafter to teach theology at BC.

"Mary Ann Hinsdale is a university citizen," said Vice President for University Mission and Ministry Joseph A. Appleyard, SJ. "She brings a wide knowledge of what is going on in religious education and a generous but firm feminist voice to a number of conversations going on at BC, especially about Catholic Studies and the Church in the 21st Century initiative. Now that she's stepping down as director of the Institute, I look forward to opportunities to work with her on other projects."

Groome begins a three-year term as IREPM director on Aug. 1. "Having been at the institute for 28 years, I look forward, with my colleagues, to bringing it to a new level of excellence," he said. "IREPM has a national reputation for renewing people in ministry, and in this crucial time, will play an important role in preparing ministers for the future of the Church."

In a message to colleagues announcing the transition, Sister Hinsdale writes: "Tom's teaching, scholarship and dedication to the Institute and the Church are legendary. Tom has contributed enormously to our local, national and international reputation. I know you join me in wishing him every blessing as he assumes this new position. Comhcairdeachas Tomás!"

Groome was born in County Kildare, Ireland. He holds the equivalent of a master's degree in divinity from St. Patrick's Seminary in Carlow, Ireland, and holds master's and doctoral degrees in religious education from Fordham University and Union Theological Seminary/Columbia University, respectively. His primary area of interest and research is the history, theory and practice of religious education.

He is the author of Christian Religious Education, widely regarded as the most important and influential contemporary work on the subject, and of Sharing Faith, a foundational work on Christian ministry. He is also the principal author of the "Coming to Faith" series, the best-selling K-8 religion curriculum in Catholic schools and parishes today.

His most recent book, What Makes Us Catholic, reminds Catholics of the rich legacy that binds them together in their faith.

The institute hosted a reception at Connolly House on May 22 to recognize Sister Hinsdale's service as director and bid farewell to Harold "Bud" Horell, leaving IREPM after six years as associate director of academic affairs to take a tenure-track position in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University.


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