St. Mary's Seminary & University

St. Mary’s Attends Cardinal’s Reception

On November 27, 2023, at the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington, DC, a reception was held to mark the elevation by Pope Francis to the College of Cardinals of His Eminence Cardinal Christophe Pierre, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States of America. Invited attendees from St. Mary’s Seminary & University included (from left to right) Rev. Fredrik Hansen, P.S.S. (cand.), Dean of Seminarians, Rev. Lawrence B. Terrien, P.S.S., Associate Professor of Systematic Theology (and former Superior General of the Society of Saint Sulpice), and Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., President-Rector of St. Mary’s.

With the closure of the seminary department of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) in 2014, the publication of Seminary Journal ended. Recently, En Route Books and Media, LLC, in partnership with WCAT Radio, assumed stewardship of Seminary Journal under the leadership of General Editor, Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, OP.

Fr. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R.
Fr. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R.

Working with St. Mary’s faculty member, Rev. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R., plans for the reintroduction of the journal were put in place. Fr. Billy coordinated the efforts of multiple St. Mary’s faculty members to produce all the content for the Spring 2023 issue of Seminary Journal, the first in over seven years. Over 10 faculty authored 8 articles. In a brief introduction to the issue, Fr. Billy describes the two-year process of faculty collaboration in the renewed journal.

The journal is available as a free PDF download from and print copies are available through

As part of the re-launch, WCAT internet radio’s “The Catholic Bookworm” podcast series produced 8 episodes with individual St. Mary’s faculty members to discuss their respective articles in the issue. All segments are available on the podcast webpage at

The faculty interview subjects/article authors on the podcast are:

  • Dr. Peter Paul Seaton, Jr.
  • Dr. James Starke
  • Fr. Paul Maillet, P.S.S.
  • Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
  • Fr. Dennis Billy, C.Ss.R.
  • Fr. Lawrence Terrien, P.S.S.
  • Ms. Emily Hicks
  • Fr. Robert Leavitt, P.S.S.

National Vocation Awareness Week is celebrated annually by the U.S. Catholic Church. It is dedicated to promoting vocations to the priesthood, diaconate, and consecrated religious life through prayer and education. This year’s celebration is November 5-11, 2023.

Find a prayer for vocations and links to a number of resources on the USCCB website at:

Diocese of Syracuse Priest Honored by his Alma Mater with Annual Alumni Award

Father Richard P. Prior received the Robert F. Leavitt Award for Leadership in Pastoral Excellence from his alma mater, St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, Maryland. Fr. Prior graduated from St. Mary’s in 2001 and was ordained in June, 2001. The award is named for Fr. Robert Leavitt, former President Rector of St. Mary’s from 1980 -2007. Fr. Prior received the award at St. Mary’s annual Alumni Day celebration from Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., President Rector, on October 19th, 2023.

Fr. Brown noted that the special award was established in honor of Fr. Leavitt and his outstanding leadership, particularly in pastoral leadership and excellence. The programs established under Fr. Leavitt’s long-time leadership are a true hallmark of St. Mary’s Seminary & University. Fr. Prior is the sixth recipient of this special honor and Fr. Leavitt was in attendance to congratulate his former student!

Fr. Prior is currently the Pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel (Endicott, NY) and Our Lady of Sorrows (Vestal, NY). Previously he was the Pastor of Sacred Heart in Cicero (2015-2022) and Holy Family in Syracuse (2003-2015). Fr. Prior also served as Parochial Vicar for the Diocese of Syracuse from 2001 – 2003.

Bishop Douglas J. Lucia remarked “ I am most grateful for the generous ministry that Rev. Richard Prior has provided the people of God in his role as pastor in the Diocese of Syracuse. He is a gifted shepherd with a heart for sharing the Good News.”

In accepting the honor Fr. Prior remarked on the three most important things he learned while at St. Mary’s: (1) that learning never ends, (2) how to foster a living relationship with Jesus Christ, and (3) the importance of human formation, enabling a priest to “accept the brokenness” (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:27).

St. Mary’s Seminary & University is very proud to honor Fr. Prior as an outstanding alumnus.

Below: (Left) Fr. Prior with Fr. Leavitt, his former teacher for whom the award is named; (Right) Fr. Prior expresses his thanks at the alumni luncheon.

(Left) Fr. Prior with Fr. Leavitt, his former teacher for whom the award is named; (Right) Fr. Prior expresses his thanks at the alumni luncheon.

Sulpician Seminary Sports: St. Mary’s Seminary & University played a rematch with Theological College (Washington, DC) on Saturday, October 28, 2023 and redeemed* their 2022 loss with an 8-2 victory. The game was played on the St. Mary’s front lawn under clear, unseasonably warm skies. 

* in a sports-context; not speaking theologically.

St. Mary’s campus was bathed in “Orioles Orange” to commemorate the life of Brooks Robinson: Orioles third baseman, Catholic convert, and Baltimore icon. Robinson died September 26 at the age of 86. Raised Methodist, he converted to Catholicism in the late 1960s.

Read more about this legendary figure in the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Catholic Review at

As Baltimore celebrates the life, generosity, and faith of “Number 5” it has double the reason to celebrate: on Thursday, September 28 the Orioles clinched the AL East championship, their first division title since 2014.

St Mary’s joins in commemoration and celebration for a remarkable man and a talented team.  

St. Mary’s Seminary & University welcomed four new faculty members this Fall:

Dr. Barnabas AsprayDr. Barnabas Aspray’s first degree is in Computer Science, and for a while he worked as a software engineer for the BBC website before changing career. He completed a theology PhD at Cambridge, and has spent the last four years teaching and researching for the Theology Faculty at Oxford (“the other place” as Cambridge calls it). Dr. Aspray is a regular contributor to “Seen and Unseen”, an online magazine aimed at explaining Christianity to a non-Christian audience. He is founder and host of “Faith at the Frontiers”, a podcast which confronts challenges to the Christian faith with hope. Dr. Aspray grew up mostly in Britain and partly in Ecuador. As an adult he has lived in France, Canada, and the UK, and he looks forward to making America his new home. He will be Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at St. Mary’s.

Rev. Dominic Ciriaco, P.S.S.Fr. Dominic Ciriaco, P.S.S., Rector of Theological College (2020-2023) is a New Jersey native. He attended Caldwell University, received a Master’s of Divinity and a Master’s in Systematic Theology from Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, N.J., and was ordained for the Archdiocese of Newark in 1999. He became a permanent member of the Society of St. Sulpice in 2020 and received his D. Min. degree in preaching from the Aquinas Institute of Theology in 2023. He has authored two books: Witnesses to the Gospel: Reflections on Saints and Others Who Inspire (Authorhouse Publications, 2007) and A Woman for All Seasons: Margaret Anna Cusack “The Nun of Kenmare”: Reflections on Her Life and Liturgical Thought (Leonine Publications, 2015). Fr. Dominic Ciriaco will serve as the Director of the Homiletics Program and Director of Spiritual Life Programs.

Rev. Maximilian Maria Jaskowak, O.P.Fr. Maximilian Maria Jaskowak, O.P. is a Dominican friar of the Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province, USA). He entered the Order of Friars Preachers in 2016 and was ordained a priest in 2022. Earlier this year, he earned his licentiate in sacred theology (S.T.L.) from the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. His areas of research include the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Thomist Commentatorial Tradition, Sanjuanist and Teresian Theology, and Josephology. He is currently assigned to the Dominican convent of SS. Philip & James in Baltimore. He will be Instructor in Moral Theology.

Rev. Hy Nguyen, P.S.S.Fr. Hy Nguyen, P.S.S., was ordained for the Diocese of Oakland, California, in 1997. He obtained an M. Div. and MA degree in theology from St. Patrick’s Seminary in San Francisco, and his doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He has taught at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, and served as Vice-Rector and Director of Extern Spiritual Directors at Theological College at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He has also taught at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio and served as the Rector of Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas. As a native of Vietnam, Father Hy has made significant contributions to the faith formation and growth of the Vietnamese community in the United States and Vietnam. Fr. Hy will be Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at St. Mary’s.

The Catholic Review of the Archdiocese of Baltimore published an article on the archdiocesan vocations program known as Quo Vadis which was held at St. Mary’s July 10-13.

View the article at the Catholic Review website.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore Ordained four 2023 graduates of St. Mary’s Seminary on June 24, 2023.

The Catholic Review published profiles of each of the ordinands. Links to each article follow:

The Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Catholic Review conducted an audio interview with the parents of St. Mary’s third-year seminarian Russ Sullivan.

See their post and listen to the interview on the Catholic Review website.