(September 1, 2021) Dean Brent Laytham announced today that Dr. Michael Gorman was named the Director of the Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) program at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. He has been interim director for the last two terms.
On September 1, 2021 St. Mary’s opened its academic year with a “Mass of the Holy Spirit” (sometimes called a “Red Mass” after the liturgical color for the Holy Spirit and the vestments worn). The Most Rev. William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, was the presider and homilist. The principal concelebrants were Rev. Phillip Brown, P.S.S., President-Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Rev. Paul Maillet, P.S.S., Vice-Rector of St. Mary’s, and Rev. Gladstone Stevens, P.S.S., St. Mary’s Academic Dean. Deacons for the liturgy were Rev. Mr. Kenneth Lukong, Archdiocese of Baltimore, and Rev. Mr. Brian Norris, Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown.
Included in the celebration was a special rite after Communion in which new members of the St. Mary’s community–seventeen new seminarians, four priests from Cameroon studying for the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL), and two new faculty members–inscribed their names in the St. Mary’s Covenant Book. After the inscriptions, al faculty and students recited “The St. Mary’s Covenant” dedicating themselves to their studies and a life of community in formation as practiced in the tradition of the Society of Saint Sulpice.
Following the conclusion of the Mass, all faculty, students, and seminarians gathered with Archbishop Lori for the annual community photo.
The final phase of renovations to the living areas of the seminary have been completed, bringing to an end the two-year construction project and an even lengthier period of planning and organization. The project reimagined a 1929 dormitory-style collection of small rooms built for hundreds of seminarians–along with communal bathrooms and showers, and fitness and recreation areas–in need of updating. These were converted into modern, welcoming–yet far from luxurious–residential floors with over 100 small suites (created by combining two former small dormitory rooms) plus lounges, small kitchens, and prayer rooms.
Each suite contains space for a bed, a study area, a reading chair, and a private bath. The fitness room has been completely renovated with modern equipment to promote healthy physical development and care. Scattered among the seminarian rooms are suites for the Sulpician faculty members as well. Sulpician faculty live among the students as a “formational community” or communauté éducatrice in the words of Jean-Jacque Olier, founder of “The Society of the Priests of the Seminary of St. Sulpice” in Paris, France in the 1600s.
The project is much more than a the renovation of a building. It is actually a part of the wider re-commitment and revitalization of the entire process of human formation at the seminary. Human Formation is considered one of the four “pillars,” or dimensions, of Roman Catholic priestly formation (along with spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation). At St. Mary’s, human formation is a cornerstone to priestly formation. “We are forming men to be healthy, happy, holy, and mature priests–the kind of priests the people of God deserve,” says Fr. Phillip J. Brown, President-Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University.
Providing living spaces for adult, mature young men (and older, as well) is a key aspect to this formational goal.
The last of the renovated rooms was blessed on Monday, August 30. A Mass of Gratitude and reception for the contractors and companies involved in the renovation was held on September 10 (picture below).
Rev. Innocent Smith, O.P. and Dr. James Starke Join the Faculty
St. Mary’s welcomes two new members of the Seminary/School of Theology faculty: Rev. Innocent Smith, O.P. and Dr. James Starke.
Dominican Father Innocent Smith, who is also a Missionary of Mercy appointed by Pope Francis, has ministry, teaching, and research specialties in homiletics, liturgy, sacramental theology, ecclesiology, and sacred music. He joins the faculty as Assistant Professor of Homiletics. He will also serve as the Director of Spiritual Life Programs. See his full faculty description and C.V….
Dr. James Starke most recently served as Director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. Dr. Starke and his family live in Arlington, VA and enjoy spending time in nature parks, visiting museums, and playing sports. He joins the faculty as Assistant Professor of Systematics. He will also serve as Director of Liturgy. See his full faculty description and C.V….
Welcome to our New Food Service Provider—SAGE!
Over the summer St. Mary’s has done a complete renovation of the servery with beautiful new flooring, lighting, and technical upgrades. SAGE, our new food service provider, has done a complete revision of the menu to provide new offerings, healthy choices and always-available information. Digital communications have been deployed with the SAGE dining services app for easy access to menus, nutritional information and recipes as well as opportunities to give feedback and view events.
Get started with the “Touch of SAGE” mobile app for both Android and iOS:
- Download and install from your respective app store.
- Register your profile by completing the forms (when you put in the 21210 zip code, you’ll see “St. Mary’s Seminary & University” as an option).
- Make sure you verify your email when you setup your profile (check your spam/junk folder if you didn’t see it come in).
- Wait for the start of the academic year for the menus and goodies to begin!
See you in the refectory!
Dear EI Community,
We hope that you have had a restful and healthy summer, and we look forward to a wonderful fall semester of learning.
Our hope has been to offer each class simultaneously online and in person, from the very first session to the finale. However, in view of the surging Delta variant, and of the indoor mask mandate in Baltimore City, we have decided that all EI courses will begin entirely online. That will both protect the health of students, faculty, and their families, and promote effective learning. We do not expect this online only modality to last the whole semester, however. We will monitor conditions, and as quickly as possible return to dual mode instruction—onsite and online united as one learning community. At present, we plan to be online only through at least Sept. 17, with timely notification about what will follow.
The library will remain open to current students and faculty. (Remember that presently everyone, regardless of vaccination status, is required to wear a mask at all times while in our building.)
Please know we are striving for the common good of our entire learning community, and those whom they love and serve.
May the remainder of your summer bring health, peace, and continued rejuvenation.
Deans Laytham, Fosarelli, and Hancock
On August 24, St. Mary’s Seminary & University welcomed 17 new seminarians to the newly renovated Baltimore seminary. They were greeted by a large orientation team of current students across all classes, from Pre-Theology to those in their four (and final) year.
The new arrivals come from diverse backgrounds and regions. At St. Mary’s, they will study for the priesthood for the (arch)dioceses of:
Two new seminarians are members of the Trinitarian Order. And four priests from two dioceses in Cameroon arrived to study for the Licentiate of Sacred Theology (STL) degree.
This results in a total of 80 men studying at the Roland Park seminary.
Following their arrival, the new seminarians commenced multiple days of orientation and introduction to life, prayer, study, and pastoral service in the seminary. Beginning Tuesday, August 31, they opened their year with several retreat days. Classes began on Thursday, September 2.
St. Mary’s Seminary & University Hosts Part III of “The McGivney Series” in Honor of Blessed Fr. Michael J. McGivney, Class of 1877
On Tuesday, August 17, 2021, from 7:00-8:00 PM EDT, St. Mary’s, the first Roman Catholic seminary in the United States, presented Part III of the virtual discussion series created in honor of Blessed Michael J. McGivney, Class of 1877, and founder of the Knights of Columbus.
This third segment of “The McGivney Series” addressed the question: “what should seminaries be doing today to develop priests in the model of Blessed Michael McGivney?” The panelists for this presentation were:
- His Eminence Cardinal Edwin F. O’Brien, Former Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, former Rector of the North American College in Rome and St. Joseph’s Seminary & College (Dunwoodie) in New York, and Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore.
- Mr. Michael Schultz, 2nd Year Seminarian of the Archdiocese of Louisville and Grand Knight of the Blessed Michael McGivney Council of the Knights of Columbus at St. Mary’s.
- Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., President-Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University (Host/Moderator).
We look to those the Church calls “venerable,” “blessed,” or “saint” as models. Their virtues, actions, and dispositions provide guideposts for measuring our lives and examples to strive for. Blessed Michael McGivney is no different. His life and ministry as a priest, particularly as an American priest formed in our own seminary, provides further opportunities for reflection. His priestly witness reveals a life that many priests can, and should, model their own after. Therefore, it is entirely appropriate to ask our thematic question: “what should seminaries be doing today to develop priests in the model of Fr. McGivney?” We will approach this question by way of two prior inquiries:
- What are the “qualities” of Blessed Michael McGivney exhibited in his priesthood?
- How can today’s priests (particularly the newly ordained just out of seminary) embody these qualities in their own ministry in the twenty-first century church?
- Finally, what should we be doing in seminaries to develop these kind of priests: priests in the “model” of Michael McGivney?
St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute mourns the loss of Bishop Douglas Miles (MA in Theology, ’84; additional study ‘98) on Tuesday, August 3. Both in his service as a pastor of Koinonia Baptist Church and through leadership of BUILD (Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development), he embodied “faith seeking understanding, understanding making a difference.” We echo the sentiment of our emeritus Board member Dr. William C Calhoun: “Servant of God, well done!”
First Seminary to Respond to the Call
On May 18, 2021 the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame opened a webpage dedicated to an effort establishing benchmarks for sexual misconduct policies at seminaries and houses of formation.
The effort follows on a study from the Center for Advanced Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University that was commissioned by the McGrath Institute. The study revealed the need for seminaries to more effectively promote policies regarding misconduct. A study group comprised of bishops, seminary rectors and faculty, and lay experts was convened to develop the set of “benchmarks.” Seminaries and houses of formation would be invited to publicly commit to these policy benchmarks and their implementation.
As the call went out, St. Mary’s Seminary & University was the first to commit–primarily because the benchmarks reflected the already-existent policy framework in effect at our institution.
Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., President-Rector of St. Mary’s issued the following statement after the McGrath announcement:
The McGrath benchmarks reflect St. Mary’s Seminary’s longstanding already existing policies and commitment. St. Mary’s is therefore happy to sign on to those benchmarks. The Theodore McCarrick revelations highlight three important responsibilities of seminary administrators:
- To thoroughly vet, evaluate and remain vigilant regarding seminary applicants and do everything possible to make sure predators do not gain admission to the clerical state.
- To protect seminarians from predators, especially those who seek access through association with the seminary as faculty, staff, recruiters, or board members.
- To educate and form seminarians in virtue and sensitivity respecting the protection of minors and other vulnerable people; especially never to turn a blind eye to signs of possible misconduct, including among peers or superiors in the seminary or clerical state.
The McGrath Institute announcement with the full list of the first fifteen seminaries to sign on to the benchmarks is available at https://mcgrath.nd.edu/about/centers-initiatives-and-programs/directors-initiatives/benchmarks/.