St. Mary's Seminary is the first Roman Catholic seminary in the nation: rich in tradition while focused on priestly preparation for the 21st-century.
These pages provide information on the history, personnel, environment, and formation (in the Sulpician tradition) at St. Mary's.
The three pages in this section of our site touch on the very basics of the formation process.
A major part of priestly formation is intellectual formation, accomplished through the pursuit of academic degrees.
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute (EI) was founded in 1968 by St. Mary’s Seminary & University, America’s oldest Roman Catholic seminary, in cooperation with ecumenical leaders. St. Mary’s is accredited by the Association of Theological Schools and by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. The Ecumenical Institute encourages people of all denominations to explore theological studies in a serious, open-minded, and supportive environment.
All EI programs are available wherever you are - on campus in Baltimore, and on-line.
The Ecumenical Institute invites people of all denominations into theological study that pursues excellence and promotes ecumenical understanding and respect.
All EI programs are available wherever you are - on campus in Baltimore, and on-line.
St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute has a rolling admissions policy. Students may apply at any time for admission by submitting the appropriate materials.
The Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological programs for two master’s degrees, several graduate certificates, and introductory explorations.
The post-master’s Certificate of Advanced Studies in Theology (CAS) is designed for individuals who possess a master’s degree in theology (e.g., MAT.), ministry (e.g., MACM), divinity (e.g., MDiv), or a related field and who desire to continue their theological education with a general or focused program of study.
The Doctor of Ministry program roots ministry in the mission of God, the ways God is working in your context, in your ministry, and in you.
Students have a host of resources available to support their theological education, from free parking and a great library to writing assistance and advising.
St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute offers accredited graduate theological education that is intellectually rigorous, personally enriching, and professionally empowering.
More than 750 alums of St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute are making a difference in Baltimore, in Maryland and D.C., West Virginia and Pennsylvania, and around the world.
General communication and individual contacts
It is the mission of the Center for Continuing Formation to encourage bishops, priests, deacons, and lay ecclesial ministers to engage in human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral growth and to enable processes of growth that are ongoing, complete, systemic, and personalized.
Conference space rentals include a large room that will seat as many as 58 and smaller rooms that will seat from 4 to 30.
St. Mary's Center for Continuing Formation offers and hosts a variety of continuing formation programs for priests in the spirit of the Bishops' new Basic Plan for the Ongoing Formation of Priests.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University’s Pinkard Scholars is the cornerstone of Youth Theological Studies at SMSU.
For more information about any of our conference facilities or space rentals, please contact our offices directly.
The Marion Burk Knott Library of St. Mary’s Seminary and University is the largest specialized theological library in the Baltimore area, with additional materials in the areas of philosophy, psychology, pastoral counseling and church history, among others. The library receives over 390 periodicals and maintains a collection of 20,000 volumes of bound periodicals. Other holdings include newspapers, microfilm, and audio-visual materials.
The Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary & University opened in the spring of 2002. Located on the campus of the nation’s first Roman Catholic seminary, this program brings together the archives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore (est. 1789), St. Mary’s Seminary & University (est. 1791), and the Associated Sulpicians of the United States (U.S. Province est. 1903), making it one of the most significant repositories for records relating to the early history of the Catholic Church in the United States.
Click here for more information about hours and visitor policies.
This section was created to provide researchers with a brief description of the open collections in the archives of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, St. Mary's Seminary & University, and the Associated Sulpicians of the United States.
The Associated Archives at St. Mary’s Seminary & University has developed a genealogical policy responsive to individuals researching their Catholic roots.
We facilitate personal integration of the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions necessary for authentic priestly witness and service in the image of Jesus Christ.
From June 8-10, 2023, St. Mary’s Seminary & University will host a conference titled “The Primacy of God in a Secular Age: On the Theological Virtue of Faith.” The conference is sponsored by The Sacra Doctrina Project in partnership with SMSU.
Featured Speakers will be:
The conference is currently requesting papers. Those interested should submit a 300-word abstract proposal via The Sacra Doctrina Project website. Priority consideration will be given to proposals received by December 15, 2022; proposals will also be accepted through January 1, 2023.
For more information, visit: sacradoctrinaproject.org/conference.
The National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Directors (NCDVD) held their annual convention in Baltimore from September 2-9 at the Hilton Inner Harbor, next to Camden Yards. To thank the participants for visiting Baltimore and to show them the wonderful formation opportunities at St. Mary’s Seminary & University, a special “Night at the Parks” was held on September 6.
Approximately 100 vocation directors came to Roland Park from the hotel. The evening began with Vespers in St. Mary’s Chapel; Archbishop William E. Lori, presided. Then, they joined the seminary community for an Orioles-themed “tailgate” dinner in the refectory. The meal was preceded by a short video greeting from none other than Cal Ripken himself. September 6 marked the 27th anniversary of the night Cal broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive game streak.
Seminarians offered brief tours to those interested in seeing the seminary’s renovated living spaces.
The evening continued with transportation from Roland Park to Oriole Park where the vocation directors saw an Orioles home game, accompanied by St. Mary’s President-Rector, Fr. Philip Brown, P.S.S., and a number of faculty and seminarians.
The vocation directors were mightily impressed with the creativity and depth of St. Mary’s hospitality.
St. Mary’s Center for Continuing Formation is currently accepting registrations for the annual New Pastors’ Program to be held November 6-11, 2022 at the Center on the St. Mary’s campus in Baltimore, MD.
See the detailed schedule and download the registration form on the New Pastors’ Program page.
St. Mary’s President Rector, Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., presents his next reflection for the St. Mary’s community, Letters from the Park. In it, Fr. Brown takes his inspiration from a quote from Dante’s The Divine Comedy, saying:
It seemed appropriate to me to reflect for this second of the revived Letters from the Park on this passage, an image of one emerging from catastrophe, looking back on perils escaped, as he moves forward toward new vistas, some dark and fearsome, others offering hope, eventually leading to a final sublime state.
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Letters from the Park
Baltimore: Roland Park Neighborhood
Dante Aleghieri, La Divina Commedia
Dear St. Mary’s Community,
The Divine Comedy is the story of a soul. Written in the fourteenth century, it touches on themes strangely contemporary. “Contemporary” because they are universal: the ultimate consequences of human actions; how to live in the face of the unpredictability and stresses of human existence; what is our relationship with God, and what should our relationships with one another be like; what constitutes good governance and bad governance in human affairs; what, ultimately, is life all about.
Civilization seemed at a high point when Dante wrote, but it was also plagued by corruption, violence, selfishness, and decadence in its highest circles. The themes of the Comedy are not exclusively “spiritual” but related as well to the real world in which its characters had lived.
Dante and his guide, the Roman poet Virgil, travel together through the Inferno (hell), Purgatorio (purgatory) and eventually to Paradiso (heaven), the three realms beyond life in this world. They meet only people who had lived in this world who have now gone on to eternal rewards and punishments, some for purgation before, but with the assurance of, entering heaven. Dante’s voyage begins on Holy Thursday and ends on Wednesday of Easter week. As Easter Season 2022 comes to an end and we return to Ordinary Time the day after Pentecost, things are feeling more normal, as we yearn for more “normal,” even as we are reminded that we have not moved completely beyond the perils of our current times. It seemed appropriate to me to reflect for this second of the revived Letters from the Park on this passage, an image of one emerging from catastrophe, looking back on perils escaped, as he moves forward toward new vistas, some dark and fearsome, others offering hope, eventually leading to a final sublime state.
Dante’s image is an appropriate point of reflection, I believe, as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-2022. Descending upon us so swiftly, it was here before we really knew what was happening; not unlike a shipwreck, beginning with small but ominous signs that something was amiss, then suddenly affecting thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people, many of whom lost their lives. We mourn those who have passed and pray for their loved ones. We seem to have made it through the worst now, but it has not completely gone away. We are emerging like Dante’s character still looking back at perilous waters as we move more and more toward safety.
Risks, dangerous risks, remain. But risks there have always been, are, and will always be in this life. In the end, however, our lives are determined not by the dangers but by the courage and determination with which we face them. Not fate but hope is our lodestar. That is at the heart of Dante’s message: the serious risks and dangers of life do not have the final word—not for those who have faith, those who trust in the Spirit of God who guides us. Faith and salvation await us, lived in hope even during darkest days, not just spiritually but in the real circumstances of our lives—like a pandemic. And were it only a pandemic! So many other fearsome realities continue to beset us: a war of aggression, thought impossible in our day and time; senseless shootings; continued polarization and political rancor.
The Divine Comedy was written fifty years before the Black Plague wiped out one-third to one-half the population of Europe, a major event that challenged human beings to the extreme. But we endured, emerged from it, regained hope, faith and determination, just as we are doing in the face of the challenges we are having to face. The pandemic preoccupied us for over two years. We have an opportunity to regain a larger perspective now—not only that there are other terrible challenges in front of us, like war abroad and random violence at home, but also because there is much that is hopeful in front of us, if we only recover our vision for the hopefulness that having a future is. And we do have a future, one that can be better than the past, even if we must continue to endure negative challenges as we pursue positive progress. What will make all the difference, I believe, is that we come to realize and embrace the fact that history and the future are not just things that happen, they are things that people make happen. It is through the quality of how we live our lives and embrace values and initiatives that will make our world and the future better than past events that have darkened our lives that will make the difference, if we commit ourselves to living those values and carrying those initiatives out.
Another favorite author whose writings are filled with great wisdom, who has offered much hope and given much strength to generations of Christian believers is St. Augustine of Hippo. Something he said gave me perspective for what I wanted to say in this letter, which is that however challenging these past years have been, and the present seems to be, through faith we will experience a resilience that we otherwise might not have dreamed we had; an ability to heal from the wounds the past few years have inflicted on us and shape our present and our future in ways that will allow us to move beyond the challenges toward something stable, satisfying and hopeful; something ultimately sublime. As Augustine says:
“Bad times, hard times, this is what people keep saying; but let us live well, and times shall be good. We are the times: such as we are, such are the times.”
St. Augustine, Sermon 80:8
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At evening vespers on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, St. Mary’s welcomed Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight, Patrick Kelly, and Most Reverend William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore and also the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights, at a special charter ceremony inaugurating the Blessed Michael McGivney Council of the Knights of Columbus at St. Mary’s. The development of the Council is notable as it is established at the very seminary from which Fr. Michael McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, graduated in 1877.
The ceremony took place in St. Mary’s Chapel where a portrait of Fr. McGivney and a relic were placed in honor with flanking candles. Archbishop Lori presided at the Evening Prayer and preached the homily. In addition to Supreme Knight Kelly, Knights of Columbus State attended along with Very Reverend Daniel Moore, Acting Provincial of the Society of Saint Sulpice, United States Province.
The service was followed by a celebratory dinner and additional addresses, including a speech by the first Grand Knight of the new Council, Mr. Michael Schultz, Second-Year Seminarian from the Archdiocese of Louisville.
Knights of Columbus video summary of the event
Charter presentation during Evening Vespers.
Supreme Knight Patrick Kelly speaks to the congregation.
(In the center) Most Rev. William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore and Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, (to the immediate left) Mr. Patrick E. Kelly, Supreme Knight, (next left) Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., President-Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University. (To the right of Archbishop Lori) Mr. Michael L. Schultz, 2nd Year Seminarian of the Archdiocese of Louisivlle. (Remainder) The faculty and student members of the new Council.
Acting Provincial of the United States Province of the Society of Saint Sulpice, Very Rev. Daniel Moore, P.S.S., speaks at the dinner with fond memories of his membership in the Knights.
Friday, May 20, 2022 • 7:30 PM EDT
St. Mary’s Chapel at St. Mary’s Seminary & University
Free and open to the public, but registration is requested.
Register online at Eventbrite.
Franz Schubert: Sonata in E minor D. 566 (unfinished)
César Franck: Prélude, Aria et Final (1887)
Erwin Schulhoff: Suite No. 3 for the Left Hand (1927)
Maurice Ravel: La Valse (composer’s version for solo piano) (1919)
Vladimir Stoupel returns to St. Mary’s to present a timely recital. His program features several pieces composed in reflection on World War I. This look back into history helps us to cope with the crisis-ridden present and to commemorate the lives lost in the war. We need distance to be able to process all this. Music is especially necessary in times of crisis! It offers us a protected space; it gives us the opportunity to reflect. War destroys, music builds up.
Vladimir Stoupel is an individualist with an extraordinarily rich tonal and emotional palette. The Washington Post praised his “protean range of expression” and Der Tagesspiegel Berlin described his performance as “enthralling and atmospherically dense.” His extraordinary technical command allows him to explore the outermost limits of expression, mesmerizing audiences with his musical intensity.
View/download the Event Flyer.
Members of the St. Mary’s community have an impact far beyond our Baltimore location. These are some of the latest examples.
Once again, the St. Mary’s community participated in the annual “Gift of the Magi” program. The Peace and Justice Committee, who coordinated the program, gathered 84 gifts. An additional 20 gifts were brought by the OLPH Edgewater Youth Group, who came on Saturday to assist with gift wrapping. The gifts were collected to support 84 underprivileged children who attend Mother Seton Academy, operated by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. This is a program that St. Mary’s has supported for around 10 years, and this year’s drive was a great success.
Pictured: (top) the gifts are wrapped and ready for transport; (bottom) seminarians deliver the gifts to Mother Seton Academy: (left-right) Sr. Margaret [Peggy] Juskelis, SSND (the President of Mother Seton Academy), John Enemuo (Diocese of Wilmington), Michael Boris (Diocese of Scranton), and Javier Fuentes (Archdiocese of Baltimore).
Saint Meinrad Institute of Sacred Music (Saint Meinrad, Indiana) will present an afternoon workshop on “Understanding Liturgical Manuscripts” on Saturday, January 8, 2022. The free event will be held in the Saint Meinrad Archabbey Library from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Central Time. It is open to the public.
Among the group of leading scholars who will present: St. Mary’s own Associate Professor of Homiletics, Rev. Innocent Smith, O.P.
According to the Institute, presentations will be on the liturgical manuscripts in the Archabbey Library collection, ranging from 11th-century southern Germany to 18th-century Ethiopia. None of the manuscripts has previously been studied, and many are new acquisitions with fascinating histories. The workshop will explore what can be learned from the manuscripts and how to study them.
Though the speakers are among the top in their field, the event is geared toward the general public and is an opportunity to shine a light on the riches of the collection with the scholars most expert at uncovering those riches.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University is hosting a comprehensive evaluation visit for reaffirmation of accreditation by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Commission on Accrediting on January 24 – January 27, 2022. The purpose of this visit is to verify that the school meets all applicable Commission Standards of Accreditation. Comments regarding how well the school meets those standards and/or generally demonstrates educational quality may be sent to the ATS Director of Commission Information Services at least two weeks before the visit. Comments may also or instead be sent in writing to Pat LeNoir, Special Assistant to the President for Institutional Excellence (firstname.lastname@example.org). All comments will be shared with the onsite evaluation committee.
Please Join Us for
Lessons & Carols
Thursday, December 9, 2021
5:00 PM (organ preludes at 4:50 PM)
Sung by the
St. Mary’s Seminary Schola Cantorum
in St. Mary’s Chapel of St. Mary’s Seminary & University
For Release: November 29, 2021
(Baltimore, MD) – St. Mary’s Seminary & University–the nation’s first Roman Catholic seminary established for the formation of priests in the United States–has been awarded a grant in the amount of $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support the design and implementation of St. Mary’s Institute for Pastoral Leadership. The mission of the Institute will be to strengthen St. Mary’s recognized leadership in forming 21st century pastors equipped to minister collaboratively with lay ministers and parish leaders to address the spiritual and pastoral needs of those served through the wide variety of ministries and outreach programs in Catholic parishes.
The initiation of the Institute is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s “Pathways for Tomorrow” Initiative, a three‐phase initiative designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada prioritize and respond to their most pressing challenges as they prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations both now and into the future.
“We could not be more grateful to Lilly Endowment for its recognition of St. Mary’s commitment to forming authentic and effective pastors, equipped in every way for the rigors of pastoral ministry in the 21st century,” said St. Mary’s Seminary & University President‐Rector Revered Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S. “With this significant grant, we will be able to accelerate and expand programs to provide model human and pastoral formation, not only for those seminarians currently in formation, but continuing education and essential resources for priests already in parish ministry addressing the varied pastoral needs of those who depend on them and their pastoral teams each and every day. St. Mary’s mission is to provide the people of God with the kind of priests and pastors they truly deserve.”
St. Mary’s Seminary & University is the birthplace of priestly formation in the United States. At the invitation of Bishop John Carroll, first Roman Catholic Bishop in the United States, Father François Nagot, S.S., led a group of Sulpician priests and seminarians to Baltimore to begin priestly formation here on October 3, 1791. Since then, St. Mary’s has been operated by the Sulpician Fathers, a community of diocesan priests dedicated to the formation of parish priests. Currently, 76 seminarians are in formation at St. Mary’s from 13 dioceses throughout the United States, as well as Hamilton, Ontario and Zhao Xian China, in addition to 4 graduate student priests, for a total enrollment of 80. Among them are also 2 religious seminarians from the Trinitarian Order, one Cistercian, and one seminarian from the Société des Missions Étrangères de Paris.
St. Mary’s already provides a holistic curriculum focused on the human, spiritual, pastoral and intellectual dimensions necessary for effective priestly ministry. The changing landscape of the Church in America demands ongoing assessment of the way seminaries prepare men to serve the needs of parishioners in the present day, however. These changing dynamics call for enhanced ongoing formation opportunities for enhanced ministerial skills to support clergy in their ministries. As part of the Institute for Pastoral Leadership initiative St. Mary’s will utilize the Lilly Endowment grant to upgrade and expand its existing Center for Continuing Formation.
Inspired by Pope Francis and his insistence that ordained ministry be understood first and foremost as a call and commitment to service, St. Mary’s Institute for Pastoral Leadership will focus on three key areas: seminary formation, ongoing formation, and faculty development. The upgrading of formation programs will include academic courses on philosophy of pastoral leadership and communication skills; workshops on essential and foundational communication skills and collaboration skills; experiential learning opportunities to build collaboration skills; and facilitated learning sessions to more effectively integrate pastoral field experiences. Ongoing formation programs will focus on the critical first five years of priestly ministry, in addition to courses on preaching, parish administration, clergy/lay collaboration, guiding volunteers and enabling lay leadership. These areas of concentration were identified based on feedback from interviews conducted for developing ongoing formation programs that can be offered as distance learning modules, along with continued onsite programs. Faculty Development will be designed to ensure that faculty members, supervisors and mentors are able to effectively help seminarians implement and integrate what they learn in formation into their lived experience.
In developing the Institute for Pastoral Leadership, St. Mary’s will create a nationally accessible innovative formation program as a resource for other seminarians and priests across the country. It is envisioned that the impact of the Institute will reach far beyond St. Mary’s seminarians and alumni and the parishes they serve.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University is one of 84 theological schools designated to receive a total of more than $82 million in grants through the second phase of the Pathways initiative. Together, the schools represent evangelical, mainline Protestant, nondenominational, Pentecostal, Roman Catholic and Black church and historic peace church traditions (e.g., Church of the Brethren, Mennonite, Quakers). Many schools also serve students and pastors from Black, Latino, Korean American, Chinese American and recent immigrant Christian communities.
“Theological schools have long played a pivotal role in preparing pastoral leaders for churches,” said Christopher L. Coble, the Endowment’s vice president for religion. “Today, these schools find themselves in a period of rapid and profound change. Through the Pathways Initiative, theological schools will take deliberate steps to address the challenges they have identified in ways that make the most sense to them. We believe that their efforts are critical to ensuring that Christian congregations continue to have a steady stream of pastoral leaders who are well‐prepared to lead the churches of tomorrow.”
Lilly Endowment launched the Pathways initiative in January 2021 because of its longstanding interest in supporting efforts to enhance and sustain the vitality of Christian congregations by strengthening the leadership capacities of pastors and congregational lay leaders.
About St. Mary’s Seminary & University
America’s first Catholic seminary, St. Mary’s Seminary & University continues its tradition of excellence since 1791 in preparing candidates for the Roman Catholic diocesan priesthood. Following the Sulpician Tradition of priestly formation, which takes place within a single community of formators and seminarians sharing one rule of life with strong mentoring relationships, we facilitate personal integration of the human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral dimensions necessary for authentic priestly witness and service in the image of Jesus Christ.
Through its Center for Continuing Formation and Ecumenical Institute, St. Mary’s also provides for advanced theological study, the ongoing formation of those in ministry, and a center of preparation for missionary discipleship.
About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis‐based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly, Sr. and his sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its founders’ hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The primary aim of its grantmaking in religion, which is national in scope, focuses on strengthening the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations in the United States. The Endowment also seeks to foster public understanding about religion and lift up in fair, accurate and balanced ways the contributions that people of all faiths and religious communities make to our greater civic well‐being.