Kane's Background Extensive, Varied

By Ian Donnis
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
April 23, 1993

Gardner — The Rev. Thomas A. Kane said earlier this year he is happy serving as a parish priest.

"I love being at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church, and the people here accept me well," Kane said. "We have a mutually supportive, ongoing relationship.

There are over 4,000 people in the parish, and I'm getting to know them little by little."

Kane, a Worcester native, helped found the House of Affirmation, a nonprofit mental health center for clergy in Whitinsville, in the early 1970s. He left there in 1986.


The Telegram & Gazette reported in 1987 that Kane had assembled real estate holdings prior to his departure, including one house each in Upton and Whitinsville, an inn and a farm in Maine, three condominiums in Boston, two condominiums in Florida and an interest in trusts that owned other Boston properties. Some of the real estate was sold in 1987.

Kane still maintains an interest in a pet store on Boston's upscale Newbury Street.

Leaving the House of Affirmation was difficult, Kane said in an interview with the Telegram & Gazette in January.


"It was painful," he said. "It's always painful when we leave things that we invest a lot of our lives in, but it was not my whole life. If I lost one job, I did not lose the priesthood."

He denied that he was engaged in any financial wrongdoing.

"If there had been any, I wouldn't be sitting here now," he said. "It simply was never true and couldn't be proven to be true."


Kane made an unspecified payment to the House of Affirmation in 1987, after the center hired Worcester lawyer Samuel R. DeSimone to investigate allegations of impropriety made in 1986 by 11 managers and executives at the center. The out-of-court settlement contained a provision that prohibited disclosure.

At the time, DeSimone said he found evidence that Kane had spent House of Affirmation money for purchases that went to his personal properties. DeSimone declined to elaborate when contacted recently.


Kane has had consistent backing from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester. In June 1988, 11 months after being removed from his responsibilities at the House of Affirmation, he was named executive director of the National Guild of Catholic Psychiatrists, following a recommendation from Bishop Timothy J. Harrington.

He also taught ethics at Anna Maria College in Paxton and served as an acting pastor at a parish in New Haven, Conn., before being named last May as an associate pastor of Sacred Heart.

The House of Affirmation was independent of the diocese, but had close ties with it. Harrington served as its president and treasurer of its board.

Monsignor Edmond T. Tinsley, vicar general of the diocese, declined recently to address questions about Kane's departure from the House of Affirmation, which went out of business in 1990.

"I wouldn't respond to any of those questions. Kane is a priest of our diocese, he is a priest in good standing, he's always been a priest in good standing, and he's doing wonderful work at Sacred Heart in Gardner," Tinsley said.


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