St. Mary’s Graduation 2017

On Thursday, May 11th, St. Mary’s Seminary & University conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree on the Rev. Dr. Christopher M. Leighton, a leader of interreligious engagement for over 30 years in Baltimore.  Dr. Leighton, the founding Executive Director of the Institute for Islamic, Christian, and Jewish Studies, gave the commencement address.  Archbishop William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore and Chancellor of the University, presided over the ceremonies where 13 seminarians received both Ecclesiastical and Civil degrees and 11 graduates of The Ecumenical Institute of Theology received either the Masters of Arts in Theology or the Master of Arts in Church Ministries. 

Dr. Leighton’s commencement address compared a pivotal moment in Moses’s life to graduation. Moses went up the mountain to receive the Ten Commandments, only to come back down and drop them when faced with rampant idol worship. Leighton remarked “You have climbed theological peaks and been bequeathed with an awesome educational gift. Walk boldly and pay attention to where you put your feet. From time to time you may lose your balance and your grip. It happens. Make sure to stop, look down, and accept a helping hand as you retrieve the sacred bits and pieces at your feet. These fragments need to be gathered up, assembled and reassembled, passed on and shared with those who hunger, with those who are desperate for shelter, and with those who yearn for a place to call home.”

Color reproductions of class photos of St. Mary’s 2017 Commencement may now be ordered online one week after graduation:

EI Alumni Day Saturday, Sept. 30

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute will hold its 3rd Annual Alumni Day on Saturday, September 30, 8:30 am – 1 pm.  Beginning with a prayer service and ending with lunch, the event will include presentations and discussion as well as time to reconnect with old friends and make new.  Alumni Day is sponsored by the EI Alumni Council. Registration information will be a available in July. We look forward to seeing you on September 30, if not before!



International organist and composer Daniel Roth at St. Mary’s Seminary & University

Former trustees and benefactors of St. Mary’s Seminary hosted a concert in honor of Fr. Phillip Brown’s inaugural year as President Rector.  Over 200 guests enjoyed the concert and a reception on April 6th.  Daniel Roth is widely acclaimed as one of the leading French organ virtuosos.  He is currently the Titular Organist at the Church of St. Sulpice in Paris where the Society of St. Sulpice was founded in 1641.

Ecumenical Institute Student Takes Course at Religious Freedom Center

An Ecumenical Institute student was among the first to participate in an intensive course offered by the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute in Washington, DC. Master of Arts in Theology candidate Michelle Rader is among those featured in this video.  Ecumenical Institute students interested in a similar opportunity for Fall 2017 have until May 14 to apply.


EI Staff Retirements

St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute congratulates three long-serving colleagues who will enter retirement this summer.

Zenaida Bench, Assistant to the Dean, Admissions & Academic Services, will retire after 23 years of service. For nearly half of the EI’s existence, Zenaida has been at its center, ensuring that each new cohort of students can enjoy the journey of faith seeking understanding. An EI alum (MAT ’93, CAS ’11), she has used her theological education joyfully in the ministry of administration.

In addition, two long-serving EI faculty members will enter retirement. Dr. Art Thomas began teaching in the EI in 1996, teaching courses in spirituality. Dr. Thomas is retiring from full time ministry in the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, and will be moving to Richmond. Dr. Brian Berry began teaching in the EI in 1998, teaching moral and systematic theology. He is a permanent Dunning Distinguished Lecturer. Brian is retiring from full time teaching at Notre Dame University of Maryland and will be moving to Ohio along with his wife Susanne.

Together, these colleagues have a combined 63 years of service to the EI. We are grateful for their commitment to our mission and generosity with our constituents, knowing that we would not have been as strong a school without them. Each will be celebrated at the annual graduation dinner.

Lector & Acolyte Installation 2017

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, eleven seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Dioceses of Altoona –Johnstown, Erie, Richmond, Scranton, Wilmington and Worcester were installed in the Ministry of Lector.  Eleven seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and Dioceses of Albany, Greensburg, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Syracuse, Wilmington and Worcester were installed in the  Ministry of Acolyte.  Bishop Ronald Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania presided.

Lectors proclaim the Scriptures at liturgical celebrations and serve as catechists; acolytes serve at Eucharistic celebrations and bring the Eucharist to the sick.

Congratulations to all!

Photo Gallery:

Loyola University Names EI Alum Vice President for Student Development

Donelda Cook, Ph.D., EI class of 2009, will become Loyola University’s vice president for student development. Dr. Cook, who went to Loyola in 1993 to become director of the Counseling Center, currently serves as associate vice president for student development. Dr. Cook earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Delaware State University, a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Southern Illinois University, and both a Master of Arts in Theology and a Graduate Certificate in Biblical Studies from St. Mary’s Seminary & University. During her tenure at Loyola, Dr. Cook has twice served as acting vice president for student development. She is a member of the ministerial staff at Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in Washington, DC, where she serves as a spiritual director. Dr. Cook’s scholarly publications focus on multicultural psychology and the integration of spirituality and psychology in psychotherapy with African Americans.

Cardinal William H. Keeler 1931-2017

Statement of Fr. Phillip Brown, P.S.S. on the death of Cardinal Keeler:

October 8, 1995 Cardinal Keeler and Fr. Robert Leavitt, P.S.S. welcoming Pope John Paul II to St. Mary’s. St. John Paul II was canonized in 2014.

We join Archbishop Lori and the entire Archdiocese of Baltimore in prayer and gratitude for the life of Cardinal William Keeler. In the Sulpician tradition, Cardinal Keeler was the first superior of St. Mary’s Seminary & University during his years of exemplary leadership of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. In 1995 Cardinal Keeler was instrumental in bringing Pope John Paul II to Baltimore, and St. Mary’s Seminary had the honor of being his final visit before departing the area. We remember a great priest, bishop and leader. May he rest in the Lord’s peace.



You may read more about Cardinal Keeler at

DMin Partnership Moves toward Second Year

One year ago, St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute announced a new partnership with Ashland Theological Seminary, offering local access to a Doctor of Ministry program. Last fall the first group of students began their DMin coursework here on the St. Mary’s campus. The program allows them to complete their first year of coursework with three intensive classes in Baltimore at St Mary’s Ecumenical Institute . Then, students finish coursework with two intensives at the Ashland campus in Ohio (one week in the Fall, one in the Spring). Finally, students develop a major ministry project which they document in a thesis.

A program overview will be presented by  the Deans of both institutions on Wednesday, March 29 at 7 pm on the St. Mary’s campus. The event is open to all. Individual admissions conversations can be scheduled for Thursday morning or afternoon, March 30. For details or to schedule an admissions conversation, contact Patty Rath (410.864.4203).

Dunning Lecture

The Ecumenical Institute of Theology will host Robert Louis Wilken, William R. Kenan Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia, for its Dunning Lecture on Thursday, March 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm. The lecture, “Liberty in the Things of God: Christian Origins of Religious Freedom,” is free and open to the public. For more information, please click here to see the flier.