School of Theology and Ministry Professor Thomas Groome, who has directed the Church in the 21st Century Center, known as C21, since 2015, will finish out his three-year term at the end of the spring semester before returning to the classroom in the fall, the University announced today.

Thomas Groome
Thomas Groome

In a letter to colleagues, Groome said that when he accepted the invitation from University President William P. Leahy, S.J., to serve as C21 director, he agreed to do it for three years, and that he was pleased with the center’s many accomplishments throughout his term.

"I am proud of the good work we have done here at C21 over the past three years, maintaining its vitally important mission of being 'a catalyst and resource for the renewal of the Catholic Church,'" said Groome. "I especially thank my valued colleagues, Associate Director Karen Kiefer and our C21 Fellow Elizabeth Campbell. It has been a pleasure to work with them."

Groome said in his letter that he looked forward to returning full-time to his faculty position at the STM, and continuing to contribute to its teaching, research and service activities.

Fr. Leahy thanked Groome for his service during his term as C21 director.

"I am grateful to Tom for his leadership, insight, and unwavering commitment to dialogue and engagement of key issues in the Church," said Fr. Leahy. "I have enjoyed working with him on C21."

A search for a new C21 director will begin this week and be chaired by Robert Newton, special assistant to the president, Fr. Leahy said.

The C21 Center serves as a catalyst and resource for the renewal of the Church, focusing on four main topics: handing on the faith; roles and relationships in the Church; sexuality in the Catholic tradition; and the Catholic intellectual tradition.

The center has sponsored/cosponsored more than 600 events that have attracted approximately 70,000 participants, including 500 scholars or prominent Church figures. Its website, which has an international viewership, offers access to more than 400 webcasts of C21 programs, and its magazine, C21 Resources, has a circulation of more than 180,000. The C21 book series includes more than a dozen titles to date and its Agape Latte events have attracted more than 10,000 students since its inception in 2006.

—University Communications