Practical Theology

The integration of sound theological method with the realities of ministry and spirituality in the contemporary world is the goal of courses in practical theology at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. This department emphasizes both the personal and communal implications of theological study for understanding faith development, pastoral care, ministries of the laity, and worship.

Note the following abbreviations: PR = prerequisite; CR = corequisite; PR/CR = either a prerequisite or a corequisite. Corequisites may be taken either at the same time as or before the course listed. Prerequisites and corequisites may be waived only with the permission of the Dean and the instructor.

PT512 Music in the Christian Tradition

The story of music’s place in Christian worship and spirituality from Gregorian Chant to contemporary expressions.  PR/CR = none.

PT546 Miracles in the Judeo-Christian Tradition

An exploration of the criteria that define various events as miraculous; scientific, philosophical and theological arguments for and against miracles; and miracles in the Old and New Testaments, as well as miracles in other world religions. PR/CR = none.

PT601 Foundations of Christian Ministry

A survey of the biblical, theological, and spiritual foundations of ministry, and of the expression of lay and ordained ministry in various Christian traditions. PR/CR = TH601.

PT602 Pastoral and Spiritual Care

An exploration of the theoretical and theological basis for Christian caring, with attention to practices of guiding, sustaining, healing, and reconciling. Cross-listed as SP602. PR/CR = TH601.

PT615 Theology and Sociology of the City

An examination of the city in biblical and theological perspective and an introduction to the sociology of urban systems, structures, and conditions that create problems and/or provide hope. PR/CR = TH601.

PT622 Introduction to Pastoral Counseling

An exploration of the theological foundations of counseling, classic and contemporary models and theories, and basic skills, including listening and referring. PR/CR = none.

PT626 Conflict Management in the Church

A study in addressing destructive conflict through the theory, theology, and practice of conflict transformation. PR/CR = TH601.

PT640 Spiritual Gifts for Congregational Ministry

An exploration of biblical spiritual gifts, with insights from charismatic and mainline churches, in order to enable students to recognize, develop, and share their gifts within parishes. Cross-listed as RE640 and SP640. PR/CR = TH601.

PT644 Women in Ministry

A critical examination of the tradition of women in ministry from both biblical and contemporary perspectives. PR/CR = TH601.

PT645 The Ministry of Leadership

An exploration of the theological foundations for leadership, current models of secular and church leadership, and current issues in order to develop an informed personal leadership style. Cross-listed as RE645. PR/CR = TH601.

PT646 The Spirituality of the Minister

An examination of the personal spiritual dynamics of ministry, including cultivating spiritual vitality, setting boundaries, and handling criticism. Cross-listed as SP646. PR = TH601, PT601.

PT651 Faith Community/Parish Nursing I

The first half of a two-semester introduction for registered nurses to the theory and practice of parish nursing as a ministry integrating health and spirituality, both within and outside of congregational settings. No credit is awarded until both PT651 and PT652 are successfully completed. PR = none.

PT652 Faith Community/Parish Nursing II

A continuation of PT651. PR = PT651.

PT660 Theology of Marriage and the Family

A study of marriage and the family from social-scientific, theological, and ethical perspectives. Cross-listed as MT660. PR/CR = TH601.

PT701 Biblical Storytelling: Narrative Interpretation of Scripture

A study and practicum in the theory and practice of biblical storytelling as a means of proclamation and spiritual formation. Cross-listed as RE701. PR/CR = TH601, BS600, and two additional BS courses.

PT705 Grief Counseling

An exploration of the bereavement process by examining personal stories, biblical narrative, and other resources to develop an integrated approach to persons experiencing various forms of loss and grief. PR = TH601; PT622 recommended.

PT709 Preaching in the Black Church Tradition

A theoretical and practical introduction to preaching and the role it plays in the African-American church. PR/CR = TH601, BS600, and two additional BS courses.

PT710 Word Beyond Words: The Arts and Christian Spirituality

An exploration of the theological, spiritual, and liturgical importance of art and music in various Christian traditions. Cross-listed as SP710. PR/CR = TH601.

PT712 Music in the Christian Tradition

The story of music’s place in Christian worship and spirituality from Gregorian Chant to contemporary expressions. Cross-listed as SP712. PR = TH601.

PT715 Ministry with Older Adults

An examination of the emotional, physical, and spiritual dimensions of aging in America; issues such as stereotyping, healthcare, and housing; and ministries for and with older persons. Cross-listed as RE715. PR/CR = TH601.

PT716 Youth & Young Adult Culture & the Contemporary Church

An overview of contemporary culture, generational issues, and the church’s mission to enhance its effectiveness with postmodern youth. Cross-listed as RE716. PR = TH601.

PT718 Christian Worship

The annual Rev. Dr. George Gray Toole Course in Christian Worship is taught each spring. It provides a biblical, theological, historical, and contemporary analysis of worship in the classical Christian tradition, emphasizing commonalities, denominational distinctives, and current issues. Cross-listed as ES718. PR/CR = TH601.

PT719 Crafting the Sermon

An exploration of the creation of a sermon from Scripture text to final form, designed both for those who proclaim and for those who would be discerning listeners. PR/CR = TH601, BS600, and two additional BS courses.

PT723  Substance Abuse and the Faith Community

A study of alcoholism and other drug dependencies, their general characteristics and behavior patterns, with attention to pastoral and clinical perspectives. PR = TH601.

PT725 Problems of the Contemporary Family

An analysis of the physical, emotional, and spiritual implications of the most common problems facing U.S. families today, with attention to Christian responses that may help family members cope. PR/CR = TH601.

St. Mary’s Chapel


Welcome to the Chapel of St. Mary’s Seminary and University which is dedicated to Mary’s Presentation in the Temple, the patronal feast of the Society of St. Sulpice.

This page will give you a deeper appreciation of the architectural beauty of the chapel and its detailed spiritual symbolism. It is the very center of the life of the seminary.

The Christological, Marian and Priestly motifs adorning the chapel, as well as the many Latin inscriptions within it, were all chosen by the Sulpician Faculty of St. Mary’s, under the leadership of Father James A. Laubacher, P.S.S., who was rector at the time of its construction and completion in 1954.

Back to “Student Facilities and Amenities”

History of the Chapel

When St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Roland Park was dedicated on November 5, 1929, the chapel had not yet been built. A drive to raise funds was immediately initiated by Father John Fenlon, P.S.S., Provincial of the Sulpicians and President of St. Mary’s. The Boston architectural firm of Maginnis and Walsh, which had designed the main seminary building, was commissioned to design the chapel in an Italian Renaissance style. However, the stock market collapse and subsequent Depression halted any building efforts. For the next twenty-five years, the community of seminarians at St. Mary’s worshipped in a temporary chapel which was later called the Prayer Hall. In 1989, its name was changed to Laubacher Hall.

In 1941, St. Mary’s was ready to commence construction of the new chapel. Ground was broken during the summer and construction of the foundation proceeded rapidly over the next few months. On November 6, 1941, Archbishop Michael Curley of Baltimore presided over the laying of the cornerstone which was held during the joint celebration for the tercentenary anniversary of the Society of St. Sulpice’s founding (1641) and the sesquicentennial anniversary of the arrival of the Sulpicians in the United States (1791). A month later, construction on the chapel ceased with America’s entrance into the Second World War. Another twelve years passed before work again resumed in January 1953. The chapel was finally completed a few days before its formal dedication on Alumni Day, November 23, 1954. Its fiftieth anniversary was appropriately observed on Alumni Day, October 21, 2004.

The shape of the chapel is cruciform. The nave constitutes the long axis while the main sanctuary, linked to the Mary Chapel and St. Joseph Chapel, are the cross arms. The internal space is composed of cast stone with terrazzo marble floors and marble columns. The nave contains twelve major stained glass windows above six banks of oak pews in a classic choir arrangement. Lighting is with recessed nave lights and bronze chandeliers. The choir loft has a stone balustrade reminiscent of that on the main building. Above and on either side of the sanctuary are two small galleries for visitors. The nave ceiling is stenciled with a green Greek key design and the ribs of the vault are decorated with ornamental alternating square and rectangular gold leaf figures.

The exterior of the chapel is made of Indiana limestone. It has a pitched main roof over the nave and sanctuary, and a second flat roof over the colonnaded side aisles and side chapels. Two large bell towers above the galleries had originally been planned, but never completed.




The SEDES SAPIENTIAE (Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom) statue is the focus of attention in the chapel’s atrium with its dramatic skylight, terrazzo marble floor and ornamental recessed oak ceiling. The statue itself is the most recognized and beloved symbol of St. Mary’s Seminary. It is, in fact, a replica of the original located at the Sulpician Seminary in Angers, France. Henri Bouriché, a prominent French sculptor, was commissioned in 1860 to carve a statue of the Blessed Mother for the seminary in Angers under her title as the Queen of the Sciences. The regal dignity and maternal love expressed by the statue radiate peace throughout the space. This particular statue was soon embraced by the entire Sulpician community and can now be found in Sulpician institutions in France, Canada, and the United States.

St. Mary’s SEDES SAPIENTIAE statue was installed in the atrium in November 1937, long before the chapel itself was actually completed. It was a gift of two priest alumni: Rev. John S. Cuddy (Class of 1905) and Rev. Michael J. Cuddy (Class of 1923) in memory of their aunt, Winifred Cuddy. The statue, made of Champville marble, and the pedestal, made of Botticino marble, were both executed in the Daprato studios in Italy. Over the side doors of the atrium are two Latin eucharistic inscriptions, CALIX NOVI TESTAMENTI (Chalice of the New Covenant) and PANIS VIVUS DE COELO (Living Bread from Heaven), with the corresponding images of the chalice and ciborium.

In the 1990s, four large oil paintings, previously on display in the Prayer Hall and Refectory, were hung in the atrium. Two were gifts to St. Mary’s of the Maryland Historical Society in 1937, a copy of Titian’s Martyrdom of St. Peter Martyr (1852), and a copy of Domenichino’s Last Communion of St. Jerome (1853). Two other paintings, both by Enrico Bartolomei di Fuligno, Capranicus’, St. Nicholas of Tolentino in Ecstasy (1758), and Vision of St. Augustine (n.d.), Italian school, seventeenth century, were originally given in 1824 by Cardinal Joseph Fesch, prefect of Propaganda Fide, as a gift to Archbishop Ambrose Maréchal, S.S., of Baltimore to decorate the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. They were later donated to St. Mary’s Seminary.

The flags placed in the atrium are the colonial and current flags of the United States of America, the Papal flag, and the flags of St. Mary’s Seminary and University, the State of Maryland, and the City of Baltimore.