A Letter from the President-Rector
Father Thomas R. Hurst, P.S.S.
As I write this letter at the beginning of August, 2014, I am conscious that fifty years ago this month I entered the college seminary in Albany, New York. It was the beginning of nine years of formation that were stimulating, challenging and some days frustrating or puzzling. The seminary journey ended, after four final years here at St. Mary’s Seminary, with ordination to the priesthood and the beginning of now over forty years of enriching, grace-filled ministry as a priest in seminary ministry and a member of the Society of St. Sulpice.
I welcome you to the website of St. Mary’s Seminary and University. We hope that here you can learn about the exciting, faith-filled programs in the seminary whose mission for over two hundred and twenty years has been the preparation of men for diocesan priestly ministry. Also, on this website is a description of the programs and resources of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology which provides graduate level theological education for women and men in an ecumenical environment.
In addition, you will find a section of the website devoted to the ministry of Continuing Education and Formation. In the programs listed there we hope, as St. Paul’s says, “to rekindle the Spirit” in those ordained.
I recall when I first arrived at St. Mary’s in August of 1968. I drove down the curving main drive in my Volkswagen beetle. As I came out of the final bend I saw the magnificent building and thought, “My God, the bishop has sent me to the palace of Versailles!” As I stopped in the front of the building I read the inscription over the front doors, “Go, Teach all nations.” I was still overcome by the size and magnificence of the building and its setting. Forty-six years later, I still gaze at that same inscription. Now, however, I am deeply moved by the people and experiences I have had at St. Mary’s that have prepared me and so many others to be disciples of the Lord and priests of Jesus Christ who go forth to preach and teach and lead God’s People.
I welcome you to St. Mary’s and this new website either as a first time inquirer about us or as an alumnus or friend. May your visit here lift your mind and your spirit to give praise to Jesus who sent forth his disciples. May you too in your life “Go” always in the way of the Lord.
St. Mary’s Priestly Formation Program
St. Mary’s offers an outstanding priestly formation program based on the Bishops’ Program of Priestly Formation and in the spirit of Pastores dabo vobis of Pope John Paul II. In addition to the B.A., M.A., and M.Div. degrees, St. Mary’s is the oldest pontifical faculty in our country and awards the S.T.B.. S.T.L., and S.T.D. degrees by the authority of the Holy See. The Knott Library and the Raymond Brown Center provide outstanding theological and biblical resources for all academic programs.
Every seminary, of course, takes special pride in something. Today, St. Mary’s Seminary has made “pastoral formation” its primary emphasis. Pastoral formation, though, is closely integrated with human, spiritual, and theological formation at St. Mary’s. So, the major focus in the entire program is forming “good shepherds” and capable pastors for the Church.
The Ecumenical Institute of Theology
The Ecumenical Institute of Theology was established in 1968 in response to the Second Vatican Council. This evening and Saturday school program is open to lay persons of all faiths, but offers special programs for Roman Catholic lay ministers. It also offers similar program for other churches and congregations.
The Center for Continuing Formation
The Center for Continuing Formation is St. Mary’s thirty-room conference center on campus for continuing education for priests. The Center offers special programs each year for pastors, newly ordained priests, and senior priests. It also hosts various bishops’ meetings, ecumenical gatherings, and other conferences.
The Associated Archives
The Associated Archives — a state-of-the-art facility — contains the archival records of the Society of Saint Sulpice, St. Mary’s Seminary & University, and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the country’s first diocese (1789), and is an outstanding resource for Church historians.