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Welcoming new seminarians and faculty to St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s Seminary community welcomed new seminarians from the Dioceses of Wilmington, Paterson, Worcester and the Archdiocese of Baltimore as well as four new faculty members; Fr. Dennis Billy, Css.R.,  Fr. William Burton, O.F.M., Fr. Robert Cro, P.S.S. and Dr. Matthew Dugandzic.  At the conclusion of the new seminarian orientation and opening retreat,  the entire community celebrated the opening of the academic year at the Covenant Liturgy on August 28th celebrated by Archbishop William Lori.


 


“Reclaiming Broken Bodies: Thinking Theologically about the Opioid Crisis”

Join us Thursday, September 19, 7 pm for a lecture by Dr. Joel Shuman, “Reclaiming Broken Bodies: Thinking Theologically about the Opioid Crisis.” The lecture is free and open to the public. Registration is requested. 

The opioid crisis is on multiple levels about the brokenness of human bodies, only some of which fall under the purview of medicine; for all the real good it does, medicine alone cannot offer healing. “Healing,” says the poet, essayist, and social critic Wendell Berry, “is impossible in loneliness. It is the opposite of loneliness. Conviviality is healing.” Berry’s claim is altogether consistent with one of the fundamental tenets of Christianity, which is that God’s redemptive work, mediated by the gathered community of God’s people is to make of alienated, lonely individuals a community of mutual love and support. God’s work is to reclaim persons from isolation and re-member them into a community where “If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” ( 1 Cor 12:26). None of this happens magically, but rather through the hard work of friendship; one way of imagining the Christian community is as a gathered society of friends, all of whom are broken in one way or another, each of whom is devoted to caring in concrete ways for the others. This work of reclamation allows us to serve one another in our weaknesses and truthfully lament the brokenness of our bodies as we await their promised redemption.

Joel Shuman, PhD, PT, is Professor of Theology at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania who works at the intersection of theology and medicine. Dr. Shuman also teaches in the CONNECT: Faith, Health, and Medicine certificate program of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. After practicing physical therapy for several years, he pursued theology, studying New Testament with Richard Hays and Christian Ethics with Stanley Hauerwas at Duke University. Joel spent the 2018-19 academic year as the Scholar in Residence with the Theology, Medicine, and Culture Initiative at Duke Divinity School, where he researched the opioid epidemic. He is currently co-authoring a book on congregational responses to the opioid crisis. His previous books include The Body of Compassion: Ethics, Medicine and the ChurchHeal Thyself: Spirituality, Medicine and the Distortion of Christianity (with Keith Meador, M.D.), Reclaiming the Body: Christians and the Faithful Use of Modern Medicine (with Brian Volck, M.D.), and To Live is to Worship: Bioethics and the Body of Christ (2007). He co-edited (with L. Roger Owens) and contributed to the volume of essays, Wendell Berry and Religion: Heaven’s Earthly Home.

Download a printable PDF flyer HERE. 


St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute Launches Doctor of Ministry

A new Doctor of Ministry degree, to be offered in the Ecumenical Institute, was approved last week by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Earlier in the month, the degree was accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (the premier accreditor among seminaries).

The program, directed by the Rev. Dr. Jason Poling, is now receiving applications for admission. The inaugural course is Reading Scripture, taught in DMin intensives this fall by Dr. Mike Gorman, world-renowned biblical theologian and Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology.

Learn more in our DMin press release, dedicated web page, or by contacting Director of Recruitment Kaye Guidugli.


Graduation 2019

 

On Thursday, May 9th, St. Mary’s Seminary & University celebrated our annual commencement ceremonies.  Archbishop William Lori, Chair of the Board and Chancellor of the University, presided over the ceremonies.

The Faculty of the School of Theology, acting under the authority of the State of Maryland, and the Academic Dean, Fr. Gladstone Stevens, P.S.S., conferred five Baccalaureates in Sacred Theology, one Master of Arts (Theology), five Masters of Divinity, and one Licentiate in Sacred Theology.

The Faculty of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology, acting under the authority of the State of Maryland, and the Dean, Rev. Brent Laytham, Ph.D, conferred nineteen Masters of Arts (Theology), ten Masters of Arts (Church Ministries), and one Certificate of Advanced Studies (Theology).

Dr. Michael Gorman, the Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary’s delivered the commencement address, entitled “Parables of Communion”— a phrase borrowed from the Taizé community—which took the form of a letter from Saint Paul, who encouraged the graduates to rely on the Holy Spirit to help create missional communities that are countercultural (alternatives to the present age), cruciform (cross-shaped), and columbine (dove-like, peaceful). Dr. Gorman, Dean of the Ecumenical Institute for 19 years before becoming the Raymond Brown Professor, was honored as a consummate scholar, extraordinary teacher and faithful disciple who has devoted his life to building up the church.  His special recognition was the capstone of the Jubilee Year of the Ecumenical Institute.

Congratulations to all the graduates!

 


Happy Easter from St. Mary’s

In the name of the St. Mary’s Seminary & University community, I would like to extend to you our warmest Easter greetings.  May the Risen Lord shed his Light upon you and your loved ones.  May his gift of Eternal Life be yours forever. 

Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
President-Rector and Vice Chancellor


2019 Holocaust Memorial

Since 1985, St. Mary’s Seminary & University has held a yearly Yom HaShoah service. This year’s Holocaust service focused on justice and accountability, which has been an important theme at St. Mary’s throughout this academic year. Students from both the Ecumenical Institute and the School of Theology—including Mark DeCelles, Marton Lonart, James Holman, Evan Ponton, and Patty Ruppert—planned the event.

The service was patterned around the lighting of the St. Mary’s Yom HaShoah menorah candles. The prayer service included a reading from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, several psalms of lament, prayers, and memoirs shared by seminarian Marton Lonart from an interview with his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. As the service concluded, participants were invited to light their own candles from the menorah as a sign of their commitment to never forgot and to advocate for the vulnerable among us.


Celebrating the Life of Sister Rose Mary Dougherty, SSND

Former EI instructor Sister Rose Mary Dougherty, SSND entered eternal life on February 28, 2019. Sister Rose Mary taught on 23 different occasions at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute from 1994 to 2011 in the area of spirituality. Many, many students were the recipients of her knowledge and wisdom. Her courses included Group Spiritual Direction; Theology & Practice of Prayer; Spiritual Disciplines; Introduction to Spiritual Direction; God, Creation & the Spiritual Life (with Dr. George Fisher); Science, Creation, and Theology (with Dr. George Fisher); and Conversion (with Dr. Michael Gorman). Her evaluations were always glowing, with comments such as “I consider it a real honor to be in Sister Rose Mary’s class.” “Sister Rose Mary is a magnificent model of prayer.” “She [teaches] with wisdom and gentle humor.”  “Her honesty and openness were soothing.”  In the 2006-07 academic year, she was selected as a Dunning Distinguished Lecturer at the EI.

A Memorial Mass will be offered on Monday, March 18, 2019 at 10:30 AM at the Chapel of Villa Assumpta. Contributions in memory of Sister Rose Mary may be made to the School Sisters of Notre Dame, 6401 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21212.


Lector and Acolyte Installation

On Thursday, February 7th, 2019, fourteen seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Dioceses of Albany, Erie, Harrisburg, Paterson, Scranton and Worcester were installed in the Ministry of Lector.  Seven seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Dioceses of Altoona-Johnstown, Syracuse and Wilmington were installed in the Ministry of Acolyte.  Bishop Charles Kasonde, Bishop of Solwezi, Zambia and an STL graduate of St. Mary’s Seminary & University presided.
Lectors proclaim the Scriptures at liturgical celebrations and serve as catechists; acolytes serve at Eucharistic celebrations and bring the Eucharist to the sick.


Statement on Clergy Abuse

Office of the President-Rector
Statement from Father Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
August 21, 2018

 

Recent revelations about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report convince me that I should address these matters as President-Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University.  Pope Francis released a very powerful letter today on this critical matter which I urge you to read. 

Some suggest that the Church is being treated unfairly, perhaps even persecuted. The Catholic Church is not the victim here anymore than Penn State or Michigan State University have been victims through revelation of criminal misconduct by their faculty or staff members. The thousands of children and vulnerable young people who have been sexually abused and harassed by priests and members of the Catholic hierarchy are the victims. And the People of God, who have not deserved this, are victims also.

This is a very sad time for the Catholic Church. But it is not a time to try to deflect responsibility. It is time to acknowledge responsibility, do penance and most importantly to reform: to reform not only words spoken, but reform the culture that made these horrible events possible.

St. Mary’s is committed to learning from what came before, and enacting policies and practices to assure no blind eye will ever be turned to wrongful behavior; that it will be confronted and addressed as soon as discovered, and those responsible dismissed from St. Mary’s.  We are also committed to forming priests who will support a culture where the vulnerable are protected fully by the Church, where not just abusers but anyone who covers for them are held accountable.

Here is my attitude: I have no tolerance for sexual abuse or sexual harassment, or any other kind of abuse or harassment on the part of anyone I supervise, work with or am responsible for. I am committed to investigating any and every allegation thoroughly and fairly. Any suggestion of child abuse is reported to civil authorities. As a Christian I believe in forgiveness, but forgiveness does not dispense with the need for accountability. I cannot change what happened in the past, but I have been and am committed to preventing improper behavior as long as I am in charge of St. Mary’s, and to make amends for past wrongs when that can be done. I cannot share confidential information, but if I could I believe you would be convinced that I mean what I say.  I am also responsible to insure that every faculty member at St. Mary’s today understands and enforces the same policy.

My predecessors started strengthening admissions standards, human formation resources and faculty screening over 30 years ago, something that continues on an ongoing basis. We want to be an important part of the solution, not to perpetuate the problem. We are profoundly aware that words and policies are not enough: actions must prove that our words are sincere. Those who know St. Mary’s today know of results that reveal themselves in outstanding seminarians and priests. I ask for your prayers and support so St. Mary’s can continue to provide the People of God with the kind of priests you deserve.

Please see Archbishop Lori’s statement on recent revelations to show our solidarity and commitment to confront and resolve these serious problems, in particular in the way we strengthen and grow St. Mary’s program of priestly formation. For the harm that has been done, I want to express my sorrow and beg forgiveness on behalf of the Church. I also want to pledge to you our undying efforts to do all we can to reform so that such horrors never happen again.

Sincerely yours, praying for the assistance of Jesus and Mary,

 

 

Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
President-Rector

 


EI Staff New Staff Hires & Updates

Dean Laytham is pleased to welcome new colleagues to St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, as well as announce one change in title.

Kaye Guidugli will succeed Patty Rath (who is retiring) as Director of Recruitment and Advancement. Kaye is an EI alum (MAT 2010) who has worked for many years in higher education (University of Maryland system). Kaye’s work there focused especially on providing access and promoting success for all students. Kaye begins work January 11.

Rev. Jason Poling, DMin, will be our Director of the Doctor of Ministry program. This part-time (5 hrs/week) position has already commenced, so that Dr. Poling can help lead us through the DMin accreditation process. Dr. Poling is an EI alum (MAT 2007) and long-serving board member. He is currently Priest-in-Charge, St. Andrew’s (Pasadena) and All Saints’ (Reisterstown).

Marcia Hancock is our new part-time Billing Specialist (succeeding Teresa Guion in a modified position). She has bookkeeping skill, computer expertise, and patience. The latter has been especially handy as Marcia is learning the new position at our busiest time of the year.

Dr. Rebecca Hancock’s title has been changed to Assistant Dean of Student Services, reflecting more accurately the full scope of her administrative work with faculty, students, and directing the MDiv partnership. Doubtless all who have worked with Dr. Hancock will want to congratulate her on this accomplishment.