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About Us

"Heart speaks to heart"- St. John Henry Newman, Newman's patron

Located in the heart of the campus of UMass Amherst, the Newman Catholic Center shines on Thatcher Rd. - the site of our new Center constructed in 2023.  


Our Center and its staff are dedicated to the students of UMass Amherst & visiting students from the Five College Consortium (Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Amherst & Hamphsire Colleges).  Our service to these students includes spiritual, enrichment, community involvement, counseling and recreational. 

This ministry serves through a variety of events, liturgies and devotionals arranged by our student organizations: the Esselen Peer Ministers, the Newman Catholic Student Association and through the guidance and assistance of our FOCUS Missionaries.


Newman is fortunate to have 2 priests in service, Fr. Gary Dailey, our Executive Director and Fr. Valentine Nworah, our Chaplain.  Fr. Gary and Fr. Valentine also minister to the parish community of St. Brigid's in Amherst as Administrator and Parochial Vicar respectively.  Deacon Thomas Lynch is our resident Deacon and assists in all ministries of both Newman and St. Brigid's.  

Along with our ministry to the students of UMass Amherst Newman also serves the faculty, staff and guests of the University.  

Meet The Team

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Fr. Gary Dailey

413-549-0300, ext. 101

Fr. Gary Dailey came to the Newman Catholic Center in 2010 with a mission in mind-to further the ministry that is available each and every day especially to the students at UMass Amherst & students of the other colleges in the Five College Consortium.  The former Diocesan Director of Vocations, pastor & teacher in our diocesan parishes and Catholic Schools Fr. Gary comes to Newman with a wealth of ministerial experience.  Newman has seen a significant increase in Mass attendance, confessions, adoration attendance as well as counseling. 

Stewardship, discipleship & the spiritual journey especially of our young men and women are the cornerstone of Newman & of Fr. Gary's vision for the Center. 


Fr. Valentine Nworah


Fr. Onyekachukwu Valentine Nworah (Fr. Val) was born Sept. 18 in the southeastern part of Nigeria. He is from a family of 4 boys and 2 girls. With the exception of his father who transitioned into eternal delight in January 2020, about 6 months before his priestly ordination, his mother and other siblings are still with us. He's fluent in Igbo, French and English Languages. He has a common knowledge of some other languages including Spanish. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Joseph Mukasa Philosophical Institute in Yaounde, Cameroon; a Certificate in Religious Studies from Siena Heights University in Adrian, Michigan; and a Masters Degree in Divinity from St John’s Seminary, Brighton class of 2020 and was ordained a Roman Catholic Priest on August, 15 2020 (Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary) for the Diocese of Springfield. He also spent some time in Rwanda and Kenya.


Deacon Tom Lynch

Deacon on Staff

Deacon Tom was ordained in June of 2015.  Growing up in eastern Massachusetts he graduated from Boston College with degrees in Classics and Philosophy. He received a Masters of Public Administration from Baruch College in New York and a Masters of Applied Theology from Our Lady of the Elms College in Chicopee.  He served in the US army Military Police Corps for ten years with the rank of major before spending 35 yrs in healthcare security and emergency management. He retired after 21 years as the Director of Security at Baystate Health in Springfield. Tom has 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren. Deacon Tom and his wife Linda have been members of the Newman Community for over twenty years.

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Virginia Webb

Director Of Development
413-549-0300, ext. 105

Virginia has had 35+ years of experience in the development arena with a focus in higher education, animal welfare and faith-based fundraising.  She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Our Lady of Good Counsel College in NY; and, a Master’s in Applied Theology from the Elms College. Virginia was closely affiliated with the Diocese of Springfield most of her career. She was involved with Pathways Committee studying the Catholic Schools of the Diocese and currently serves on the Diocesan School Board.   A member of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Holyoke she is actively involved in a committee assigned to renovating the parish church.  She and her husband, Ralph, have a daughter Adair who is a teacher & with her husband, Matt, have 2 sons, William & Henry.


Maureen Sullivan 

Admin. Assistant and DRE

Hailing from the great state of Illinois Maureen assumes several positions at Newman. She spent two years as a FOCUS missionary here at UMass and has been in ministry since then. She has a love for people, ministry and sharing in a nice home cooked meal with just about anyone. If you need anything at all, she would be more than happy to assist you! Stop by her office and share about your day!


Emily Stone

Music Director

Emily is a music teacher at Groton-Dunstable Regional Middle School. A UMass Alum, she finished her teacher certification at UMass in 2018 and graduated from UMass in 2016 with a BA in Music and a BS in Communication Disorders. After being a Peer Minister at Newman for two and a half years and then taking a year off to focus on school, Emily began singing in the choirs at Newman in 2016 and developed her love of church hymns and worship music. She is passionate about the power of music in worship and encourages anybody who enjoys music to join in, whether it be singing in the choir, playing an instrument, or praising the Lord with song from the pews!


Joe Widner

Building Manager

Raised in New England with a love of the outdoors, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping and paddling on lakes and wild rivers. Joe's background is in marketing and filmmaking (he has travelled to 5 of the 7 continents on many film projects) From Siberia to Africa and beyond.

Joe is a 3 term Grand Knight for the Knights of Columbus, Holy Family in S. Deerfield, an active member of Our Lady of Grace in Hatfield where he is a server, and member of various parish committees. Joe lives in Hatfield with his wife Beth and their son Christian.


Luis Tapia


Luis ensures that the building is clean and well polished all the while brightening people's days with his smile and joy.


Lary Grossman

Business Manager

Lary takes care of Newman's financial affairs and ensures that we are being good stewards of all our gifts.

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