St. Mary's Seminary & University

St. Mary’s Welcomes New Faculty for Fall 2023

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.

One of the highlights of the 2023 graduation at St. Mary’s Seminary & University was the awarding of the first-ever Doctor of Ministry degrees at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. The milestone event comes through the completion of studies and awarding of degrees to Allison Raye Harmon and Joyce E. Vance.

Dr. Allison Harmon’s thesis was titled “Reading Joseph in Community: Identity Matters.” Dr. Joyce Vance’s thesis was “Out of the Mouths of Babes: Revitalizing Greater Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church’s Children’s Ministry.”

Rev. Jason Poling is the Director of the D.Min. program. The program is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Learn more about the Doctor of Ministry program on the St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute pages.

The 2023 Commencement Exercises

On Thursday, May 11, 2023 St. Mary’s Seminary & University held its 2023 Commencement for graduates of  St. Mary’s School of Theology (and the Ecclesiastical Faculty) and St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. The Commencement Speaker and Recipient of an Honorary Degree was Mary Pat Seurkamp, Ph.D., President Emerita of Notre Dame of Maryland University.

For full size images of the class pictures in this article, use these links:

School of Theology and Ecclesiastical Faculty

Twelve students were awarded degrees from the School of Theology:

Master of Arts in Theology
  • Mark Henry Donohue
  • Jacob Gindhart
  • Nicholas Mwai
  • Peter Vincent Myers
  • Thomas Whiteford
Ordinand Graduates at the 2023 Commencement Exercises-thumbnail. Click for full-sized photo.
Ordinand Graduates at the 2023 Commencement Exercises.
Master of Divinity
  • Michael Joseph Boris
  • Javier Anotnio Fuentes Cabrera
  • Jeffrey Donovan 
  • Onyedikachukwu Chibundu John Enemuo
  • Paul Kongnyuy
  • Sampson Onyeaso Onwumere
  • David Wang

Vatican/Papal Symbol of the keys.In 1822, Pope Pius VII established the seminary the country’s first ecclesiastical (pontifical) faculty with the right to grant degrees in the name of the Holy See. The seminary continues to offer the pontifical STB (Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology) and STL (Licentiate in Sacred Theology) degrees for all qualified students. The 2023 degree recipients of the ecclesiastical faculty were:

Baccalaureate in Sacred Theology (STB)
All School of Theology Graduates (those receiving the M.A. and M.Div degrees as well as the STB and STL degrees) at the 2023 Commencement Exercises.
All School of Theology Graduates (those receiving the M.A. and M.Div degrees as well as the STB and STL degrees) at the 2023 Commencement Exercises.
  • Michael Joseph Boris
  • Javier Anotnio Fuentes Cabrera
  • Jeffrey Donovan 
  • Onyedikachukwu Chibundu John Enemuo
  • Paul Kongnyuy
  • Nicholas Mwai
  • Sampson Onyeaso Onwumere
  • David Wang
Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL)
  • Joseph N. Franz
  • Emily Hicks
  • Banadzem Francline Javlon
  • Andrew Lacovara
  • Mbomnda Tekam Patrick
  • Kegham Jude Thaddeus Sango
  • James Michael Starke

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute

St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute Graduates at the 2023 Commencement Exercises-thumbnail.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute Graduates at the 2023 Commencement Exercises, flanked by Dean Brent Laytham, Ph.D. and Associate Dean Rebecca Hancock, Ph.D.

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute conferred master’s degrees on 14 students. Additionally, one individual received the graduate certificate of advanced studies:

Master of Arts in Theology
  • D. Karen Hill Douglass
  • Jerry Donyel Edmonds
  • Julian Fuller (recipient of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theological Studies)
  • Byron Lane Huffman
  • Devron R. McCleod
  • Samuel Gatua Muiruri
  • Gwendolyn Mullen
  • Mary Jo Wiese (recipient of the Robert F. Leavitt Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theological Studies)
  • Galen Andrew Zook
Master of Arts in Christian Ministries
  • Marc Anthony Bowman
  • Kenneth Joseph Goedeke, Jr. (recipient of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Study and Practice of Ministry)
  • Michele Maher Hunter
  • Nkolika Genevieve Jackson
  • Jennifer D. Minor (recipient of the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Study and Practice of Ministry)
Certificate of Advanced Studies in Theology
  • Matthew C. Fuhrman

One of the highlights of this year’s graduation was the awarding of the first-ever Doctor of Ministry degrees at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. The two recipients with the titles of their theses are:

Doctor of Ministry
  • Allison Raye Harmon (thesis: Reading Joseph in Community: Identity Matters)
  • Joyce E. Vance (thesis: “Out of the Mouths of Babes:” Revitalizing Greater Gethsemane Missionary Baptist Church’s Children’s Ministry)
Dr. Mary Pat Seurkamp addresses graduates at the 2023 Commencement Exercises.
Dr. Mary Pat Seurkamp addresses graduates at the 2023 Commencement Exercises.

Commencement Speaker/Honorary Degree

The 2023 Commencement Speaker was Dr. Mary Pat Seurkamp, President Emerita of Notre Dame of Maryland University and past member of the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees. She was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity, honoris causa.

Members of the St. Mary’s community have an impact far beyond our Baltimore location. These are some of the latest examples.

Dr. Dennis Castillo

Dr. Dennis Castillo gave a paper in Philadelphia on January 7 at the American Catholic Historical Association. The paper was titled “A Tale of Two Earthquakes: The Knights of Malta and Disaster Relief in 1783 and 1908.”

Fr. Innocent Smith, O.P.

Fr. Innocent Smith gave a presentation titled “Bible Missals and the Franciscan Liturgy” at the Issues in Medieval Liturgy Seminar, North American Academy of Liturgy, Toronto, January 2–5, 2023. He will be leading an intellectual retreat for college students sponsored by the Thomistic Institute in Washington, DC on January 13–15 titled “The Mystery of the Liturgy.”

Dr. Paul Seaton

Over the Christmas break, Dr. Paul Seaton’s activity included the following:

  • His annotated anthology of Pierre Manent’s writings on the religion of Humanity, The Religion of Humanity: The Illusion of Our Times (St. Augustine Press), appeared.
  • A review essay on Adrian Vermeuele’s Common Good Constitutionalism (“Classical Historicism?”) was included in “the best of 2022” list at Law & Liberty.
  • An essay, “Benedict XVI and the Drama of European Culture,” was published January 5 at Law & Liberty.
  • He was invited to guest lecture on Benedict XVI in a course devoted to his thought at the University of St. Thomas in Houston.

Dr. James Starke

Dr. James Starke presented on “Liturgy as Mystery” at the North American Academy of Liturgy’s annual meeting, which was held January 2–4, 2023 in Toronto, Canada. He serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions and attended the first of the Board’s biannual meetings for 2023 in Houston, TX on January 24–27.

Msgr. Fredrik Hansen, (cand.)

Msgr. Fredrik Hansen’s article “Papal Legates and the Jurisdiction of Diocesan Bishops” was published in The Jurist—Studies in Church Law and Ministry, the journal of the CUA School of Canon Law (volume 78/2 [2022]: 477–99). The article examines the relationship between diocesan bishops and papal legates in relation to the power of jurisdiction (potestas regiminis), considering both the historical development of this relationship and current legislation based in the Second Vatican Council and the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

Dr. Gorman's book published in Portuguese.Dr. Michael Gorman

Dr. Michael Gorman’s book Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters (2nd ed.) has been published in Portuguese translation as O Apóstolo do Senhor Crucificado.

Ms. Emily Hicks

Ms. Emily Hicks and St. Mary’s are featured in a photo on the website of ARECONF (; scroll down), the international Applied Research in Education Conference, held in Rome, at which she presented a paper in May of last year.

St. Mary’s own Dr. Bill Scalia has just published his latest book of poetry, titled Signal / Noise.

Dr. Scalia describes the book in his own words: “Signal / Noise concerns our search for meaning amid the noise that is constituent of human experience. Part I, ‘Noise,’ examines the background–and foreground–radiant static of human experience, originating (perhaps) in the Fall. Part II, ‘Signal,’ surfaces hope, an inborn drive for meaningful existence. Part III, ‘Return,’ resolves that search at its genesis and terminus: the idea of home. The controlling themes of Signal / Noise are faith, experience, and the vagaries of God.”

Signal / Noise is available for purchase from:

Dr. Scalia teaches writing, rhetoric, and literature at St. Mary’s and has published widely in literature and film. He holds a Ph.D. in English from Louisiana State University.

Dear Seminarians, Faculty Members, Staff and all Members of the St. Mary’s Community,

We awoke on the last day of 2022 to learn with sadness of the passing of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, an important and great figure in the life of the Church and of the world, at the age of 95. We had known over his last few days that his health was failing, so this was not a surprise but nevertheless represents a very sad and also momentous event. Pope Benedict was in many ways a source of stability, consolation and strength in troubling times throughout his life. As a child he was subjected to the perversion of German society, his beloved homeland, by the tyranny of Adolph Hitler and the horrors of Nazism. Through the grace of a faithful Catholic family he grew up to become a holy and outstanding priest, theologian, teacher, curial official and eventually Pope. He was an important figure during the Second Vatican Council and a bulwark of doctrinal stability and fidelity thereafter, a moderating and transitional figure as our Holy Father during the ongoing post-Vatican II debates over the place of our faith in the world today, and in the lives of Catholics. He had the grace to recognize when his health was not adequate to carry the burdens of the office entrusted to him, and so be became the first Pope in 600 years to relinquish his office in favor of someone who could better sustain the important role of the Roman Pontiff in tumultuous times. Since 2013 he has continued his faithful service to God and to the Church as Emeritus Pope under Pope Francis. Let us give thanks for the life and service of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, and as he has passed through the gates of death let us keep his legacy of sound theology and faithful service to God and the Church alive on our own fidelity and service in the vocations that have been given to us by God. Let us keep Pope Benedict, his family, and the Church in our prayers in a special way at this time.

We will observe the traditional practices of mourning for a deceased Pope at St. Mary’s in the coming days.

May he rest in peace and may his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University

On October 21, Fr. Paul Maillet, St. Mary’s Director of Spiritual Life, presented a lecture-recital at The Schubert Club of Fairfield County in Connecticut. His program highlighted the differences and contexts of “Six Moments Musicaux” by both Schubert and Rachmaninoff.

As Fr. Maillet notes, “‘Moments musicaux’ . . . the name suggests evocative, improvisatory, and in some cases fleeting musical miniatures, as opposed to long, thought-out, and highly structured compositions. Two famous composers wrote sets of six moments musicaux: the early romantic, Franz Schubert and the late romantic, Sergei Rachmaninoff. Thus, the two sets can be seen as sort of “musical bookends” marking the span of nineteenth-century romantic piano literature.”

The Schubert Club recorded the event and uploaded it to YouTube.