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.
Desiring to assist in the strengthening of Hispanic ministry and recognizing the need for well-prepared priests dedicated in-part or in-full to this ministry, St. Mary’s Seminary and University has established a specialized track in Hispanic ministry.
St. Mary’s Propaedeutic Stage implements the vision of the Program for Priestly Formation (6th edition). It takes place in a revitalized and expanded structure on the historic grounds of the original St. Mary’s Seminary in downtown Baltimore.
The McGivney House welcomes candidates from all dioceses and is not limited to candidates destined to enter St. Mary’s Seminary & University, but is the recommended program for those who will come to St. Mary’s.
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.
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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.
St. Mary’s President-Rector, Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., presents the first in a series of Reflections from the Park—a “pastoral letter” sharing thoughts for the St. Mary’s Community. This reflection is prompted by both the feast of Epiphany and a Christmas trip to Rome, especially a visit to the Basilica of St. Mary Major.
As Fr. Brown writes:
“I travelled in Italy during the Christmas vacation, which gave me some food for thought for beginning again some reflections as pastor of the seminary community, drawing on my life as a pastor and Rector, and in the context of St. Mary’s mission of forming priests after the heart of Jesus who are confident, skillful, sensitive, and effective as ministers of the Gospel and leaders of Catholic Christian communities.”
View/Download the complete reflection as PDF.
Or, read the full text below:
January 7, 2024
Baltimore, Roland Park Neighborhood
During the Covid Pandemic I wrote a series of letters we called Letters from the Park as a way of keeping in touch after our seminarians were sent home, and throughout the “lockdown” period. I have wanted to resume something like that ever since, to share some theological and pastoral reflections on matters of current interest. I travelled in Italy during the Christmas vacation, which gave me some food for thought for beginning again some reflections as pastor of the seminary community, drawing on my life as a pastor and Rector, and in the context of St. Mary’s mission of forming priests after the heart of Jesus who are confident, skillful, sensitive, and effective as ministers of the Gospel and leaders of Catholic Christian communities.
Our seminarians return for the spring semester on Sunday, January 7, the Feast of the Epiphany. This Feast celebrates the Magi’s arrival at the manger of Jesus to see what the star and their studies led them to want to see: the Birth of a great King, whom we recognize as the Savior of the World foretold by prophets of old. As we reflect on Epiphany, Christmas 2023 has already started receding into the past as we enter Ordinary Time. There is a progression in the liturgical year, beginning with anticipation of the Birth of Jesus during Advent, arriving at our celebration of his Birth, then moving into our walk through his life and ministry during Ordinary Time, punctuated by our celebration of his Passion, Death and Resurrection during Lent, Holy Week, and Easter.
As I reflect on this progression, a common theme occurs to me that first appears at Epiphany. The Magi came to see what they had been anticipating, what the people of Israel have been waiting for throughout their history: the Birth of a great King, the Birth of a Messiah who would be the Savior of the World, Who would save the human race from the debacle resulting from the sin of our first parents. Christians, followers of Christ, still live in anticipation of His Second Coming, the final and complete fulfillment of the Salvation of the World. The common theme I discern is not what we anticipate as a result of religious formation, study and belief, but rather what we see when we arrive at the manger with the Magi and open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to what is right there in front of us.
According to the Gospel of John, the day after Jesus’ baptism two of his disciples heard John declare “Look! There is the Lamb of God!” They followed Jesus and when he noticed them, he asked “What are you looking for?” They said “Rabbi (which means Teacher), where do you stay?” He said to them, “Come and see,” and they went and stayed with him. The next day he came upon Philip and said, “Follow me”. Philip then sought out Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses spoke of in the law—the prophets too—Jesus, son of Joseph from Nazareth.” Nathanael asked, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” Philip replied, “Come, see for yourself.”
We all have a natural curiosity, a yearning to see for ourselves what’s “out there”, especially whatever might help us understand our lives better and the point of it all. In response to that natural curiosity, our yearning to “know what it’s all about”, God attracts us by various means to come and see for ourselves. Jesus, God come to earth as a human being, says “Come and see.” Philip says to those who are curious, “Come, see for yourself.” The mark of disciples and of those called to be ministers of his Gospel, it seems to me, is saying to others: “Come and see; come and see for yourself.” It’s not about elaborate argumentation, or efforts to convert others, or eliciting an explicit “act of faith”. It’s simply about encouraging others to “Come and see; come and see for yourself.” That’s what evangelization is all about: a call to “Come and see; come and see for yourself.”
Seminary formation is about forming men to say to others, “Come and see; come and see
for yourself”. Then about their making available what is there to be seen: Jesus Christ present in the Eucharist and the other sacraments; present in the Word of God proclaimed; Jesus Christ present in others, especially the poor, for those who will simply open their eyes, their minds and their hearts to see.
I visited the Basilica of Mary Major in Rome during my trip, where Pope Sixtus III constructed a “cave of the Nativity” shortly after the basilica was completed in 432 A.D. Pilgrims began to bring fragments of what was reputed to be the crib of Jesus in Nazareth to Rome, which were incorporated in the shrine at Mary Major. Were the fragments really from the manger in which Jesus lay? Who can say? We know that the crib in Nazareth had long been an object of veneration and pilgrimage. Whether or not it was actually the crib in which our Savior lay seems to me beyond the point, to succumb to a modern worldview preoccupied with history and science and authenticating objects as “the real deal”. What’s important, it seems to me, is not the object but the veneration; the sense of the sacred that believers invest in these objects used as a focal point for reflection and prayer, for veneration and worship. What is venerated and worshipped is not the object but what it represents. As though if the crib preserved at St. Mary Major were not the actual crib in which Jesus lay it would call into question whether he ever lay in a crib; if he ever was born; if he was actually the Son of God, born into our world as a human being in order to save us. What we worship, what we venerate, what we give thanks for, what we rejoice in, what we wonder at, is Salvation accomplished through saving events. Coming and seeing these objects of veneration helps us to reflect on those events and, aided by hearing and studying the Word of God, helps us call to mind the meaning of those events. Coming to see and to understand, to perceive in our hearts the meaning of these sacred events fills us with hope, a hope that leads to perseverance, whatever the challenges faced in living out our lives on earth.
Visiting these places considered holy, and focusing attention on the objects they preserve for us that help us call to mind and reflect on the mysteries of our faith, is worthwhile and edifying. It cultivates a lively faith and sustaining hope, whatever is going on in our lives. I recommend visiting places considered holy, and reflecting on the mysteries of faith they inspire us to call to mind. In a very human way, they strengthen and help to sustain our faith and hope in the promises of our faith. They reinforce our sense of the reality of what our faith tells us life is all about. With all the others who have heard the call of God, the call of Jesus to “come and follow me”, I say as his first disciples said, as so many have said throughout the ages and continue to say: “Come and see; come and see for yourself.” As Christmas and Epiphany pass, come and see, come and see for yourself in the events of Jesus’ life, in his teaching, and in his call to us during Ordinary time the saving mystery of our Salvation.
Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
February 28, 2024 | St. Mary's News
St. Mary's President-Rector, Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., presents the first in a series of Reflections from the Park—a "pastoral letter" sharing thoughts for the St. Mary's Community....
February 11, 2024 | St. Mary's News
St. Mary's showed Unity in Diversity with a Lunar New Year celebration on February 8, 2024. The seminary hosted Vietnamese Catholics in the DC and Baltimore Areas for an evening of events....