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.
There are four dimensions to priestly formation, each of which is fully integrated into the various stages of formation the candidate passes through.
Long an important element of St. Mary’s approach, recent experience has reinforced awareness of the crucial importance of sound human formation and the need to expend more resources, both in personnel and finances, to fulfill this key aspect of forming strong, mature, self-disciplined and effective priests. St. Mary’s has completely revamped its human formation program, self-consciously approaching this area proactively, based on a reliable model of healthy human development, growth, and maturity. Partnering with Caritas Counseling Center/Saint Luke Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and other outstanding local institutions, St. Mary’s has committed its resources to providing effective human formation. A dedicated faculty position of Director of Human Formation has been instituted to coordinate all components of human formation so as to assure a balanced approach in relation to the other aspects of seminary formation (spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral).
Spiritual formation follows Fr. Olier’s principle se laiseer à l’Esprit (abandon yourself to the Holy Spirit). Spirituality is as unique to each seminarian as his own personality, character, and sense of identity. It begins with what the Church expects of all seminarians: daily Eucharist and Liturgy of the Hours in common; Exposition, Adoration, and Benediction; spiritual direction; the Rosary (together and alone); litanies, and ecumenical prayer services. Each seminarian is guided in discovering methods and practices most helpful to his own spiritual development. The wide variety of spiritualities found in Catholic culture and tradition are offered as aids to finding the best approach for each individual. No one spirituality is presented as the answer for all. Rather, seminarians are taught that Christian freedom must lead each to find the best way to deepen his spirituality in the full and authentic exercise of their diocesan priesthood.
St. Mary’s is known for its superior academic program. Our commitment to academic excellence continues unabated. A transitional period of faculty retirements and turnover has brought to St. Mary’s several outstanding new professors and priest-formators of sterling reputation. Concerted ongoing efforts ensure that academics fit into a well-balanced overall program of human, spiritual, and pastoral formation, while not compromising in any way our commitment to academic excellence. We believe seminarians are best formed to be credible and effective pastors when challenged to exert themselves, and by doing so to learn the kind of self-discipline and balanced lifestyle necessary for the demanding vocation they are embracing as diocesan priests. In addition to the outstanding support St. Mary’s provides international seminarians for mastering English language skills, a Spanish Language Track has been added with graduated courses in Spanish each semester of attendance for seminarians whose dioceses want them to develop outstanding pastoral Spanish language skills.
Pastoral formation at St. Mary’s, in collaboration with the Archdiocese of Baltimore and its many outstanding parishes, hospitals, and other institutions, is unsurpassed in quality. An “active learning model” is employed: seminarians first observe, in order to understand and articulate why a pastor is recognized for his effectiveness. They engage in theological reflection on what they have observed and its theological and pastoral significance. Through graduated learning experiences, they participate in parish-based pastoral ministry in learning teams, practicing skills of collaborative ministry: catechesis and teaching; sacramental ministry and preaching; the development of leadership skills as team leaders during Fourth Theology. Parish-based formation is bolstered by coursework focused on acquiring pastoral knowledge, skills, and sensitivity (every syllabus must describe how the course will help students become effective pastors) and attentive monitoring by the mentor of progress in pastoral formation.
Next, Stages of Formation