Category: St. Mary’s News

225th Anniversary of the Society of St. Sulpice Province of the United States and the founding of America’s first Roman Catholic Seminary

On Tuesday, November 15th there was a celebration to mark the 225th anniversary of the arrival of the Sulpicians in America and the founding of St. Mary’s Seminary.  His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, P.S.S., Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops, received an honorary degree from St. Mary’s Seminary & University.  To read Marc Cardinal Ouellet’s remarks, click here. The ceremony was attended by several of the United States’ Cardinals; Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Seán Cardinal O’Malley, Donald Cardinal Wuerl, Archbishop Christophe Pierre (the Apostolic Nuncio of the United States) and over 30 Bishops and Archbishops who are in Baltimore at the time for the USCCB meeting.  The Province of the United States invited the seminarian communities of Theological College of the Catholic University of America, the other Sulpician seminary in the United States, and Mount St. Mary’s in Emmetsburg, founded by the Sulpicians, to join the seminarian community of St. Mary’s Seminary & University for the special celebration.

On April 8, 1791, with the blessing of Father Jacques-André Emery, superior general of the Society of the Priests of Saint Sulpice, four priests and five seminarians embarked from Saint-Malo, France on a chartered ship destined for the port of Baltimore, Maryland.  Upon their arrival, Father Francois Chares Nagot, the superior, accompanied by Fathers Antoine Garnier, Jean-Marie Tessier, and Michel Levadoux, was welcomed by Bishop John Carroll, the first bishop of the diocese of Baltimore — which at the time encompassed the entire fledging nation.  Eight days after their arrival in Baltimore, Maryland, the Sulpician community moved into a large building on Paca Street, just one mile north of city center, which was to become the first Roman Catholic seminary in the United States.   St. Mary’s Seminary was officially opened on October 3, 1791.

225 years later St. Mary’s Seminary & University continues to thrive and serve the original mission of preparing men for the Roman Catholic priesthood and proudly counts over 6000 living alumni in the United States and throughout the world.    St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, founded in 1968, expanded the mission to serve men and women seeking graduate theological degrees, many of whom have served the Archdiocese of Baltimore over the past 48 years.    Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S., the President Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University remarked “The priests of the Society of St. Sulpice have been forming priests for service in diocese of the United States for 225 years. Theirs is a unique contribution to the life of the Church in the United States, as we represent the only religious community whose principal and virtually sole work is the initial and ongoing formation of parish priests. St. Mary’s has formed more priests for service in the United States than any other seminary and can therefore justly be called America’s “cradle of pastors.”

From the Catholic Review:

Sulpicians mark 225 years of training men to be priests

November 23, 2016
By Christopher Gunty

In October 1791, five men began studies for the priesthood at the first seminary in the United States, just a couple years after the Diocese of Baltimore was established as the first in the country in 1789. At the time of that humble beginning – when Bishop John Carroll, Baltimore’s first bishop, welcomed four priests from the Society of St. Sulpice and the five seminarians – the Diocese of Baltimore encompassed the whole fledgling nation.

– See more at:

Copyright (c) 2016, Catholic Review Media, All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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St. Mary’s Seminary celebrates Alumni Day and honors Fr. Thomas Ulshafer, P.S.S. with Olier Award

Over 120 alumni from St. Charles College, Paca Street, St. Mary’s Seminary College and St. Mary’s Seminary gathered at Roland Park on October 19th and 20th to celebrate the annual Alumni Days.  Alumni guests arrived on Wednesday and many enjoyed a visit to the St. Mary’s Spiritual Center at Paca Street before gathering for Evening Prayer with the seminarian community.  Fr.Ed Griswold (St. Charles 1966, St. Mary’s 1972) presided.  Classes gathered for dinners that evening and on Thursday joined the community for Mass celebrated by Fr. Larry Terrien, P.S.S. (St. Charles College 1966), Fr. Brown, as the new President Rector, gave the homily (click here to read) .  At the banquet, the Olier Award for Outstanding Alumnus was presented to Fr. Thomas Ulshafer, P.S.S. (St. Mary’s 1970) in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the Society of St. Sulpice over many years.  Fr. Ulshafer recently completed a biography of the founding superior of the Sulpicians in the United States, Fr. François-Charles Nagot during his sabbatical and all the alumni guests received a copy of his book.  Click here to read Fr. Brown’s remarks.

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Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S. installed as new President Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University

Archbishop William E. Lori celebrated the Installation Mass on Thursday, October 6th in the St. Mary’s Seminary Chapel.  Over 150 guests joined the seminarian community for the liturgy and reception.  Principal concelebrants included Fr. John Kemper, P.S.S. Provincial of the Society of St. Sulpice, Fr. Robert Leavitt, P.S.S., faculty member and former President Rector (1980-2007) and Fr. Lawrence Terrien, P.S.S., faculty member and former Superior General of the Society of St. Sulpice.  For more photos, click on an image in the gallery below.

From the Catholic Review:

Newest President-Rector of Nation’s Oldest Seminary Gets Baltimore Welcome

October 07, 2016
By Erik Zygmont
Twitter @ReviewErik

“That’s about as official as it gets,” said Baltimore Archbishop William E. Lori after Sulpician Father Phillip J. Brown signed a profession of faith and oath of fidelity to church teaching Oct. 6.

The action followed the liturgy of the word at Father Brown’s installation Mass at the Chapel of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary at St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Roland Park, where he has been serving as president-rector since July.

“I feel your support every day and it is deeply appreciated,” Father Brown told the archbishop after the Mass.

Click here to read the full article or go to

Copyright (c) 2016, Catholic Review Media, All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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Welcome Students!

St. Mary’s Seminary & University welcomed twelve new seminarians and two resident priest students to its seminary community for the 2016-2017 academic year.  Student leadership and seminarian volunteers helped the new students move in and feel welcomed during its 2016 Introduction to Seminary Life Program, August 18-20th.  The new arrivals come from the following (arch)dioceses:  Altoona-Johnstown, Baltimore, Erie, Richmond, Scranton, Wilmington, Worcester, San Antonio and Chipata, Zambia.  The Introduction to the Seminary Life Program includes introductory conferences on Sulpician formational community, the four pillars of formation, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Sulpician method of meditation, and the philosophical and theological course of studies. It also includes the testing of basic academic skills, a tour of Sulpician and Catholic Baltimore heritage, and concludes by joining the returning community for retreat.  St. Mary’s new President Rector, Fr. Phillip Brown, P.S.S. directed the retreat which concluded  with the Opening Mass of the Holy Spirit.  Most Rev. William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore, Chair of the Board and Chancellor of the University, was the celebrant.  (Pictured above) St. Mary’s Seminary & University’s new President Rector, Fr. Phillip Brown, P.S.S. enters with Vice Rector, Fr. Ed Griswold for the Liturgy.

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Commencement 2016

On Thursday, May 12th, Archbishop William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore and Chancellor of the University, presided over Commencement Exercises at St. Mary’s Seminary & University. The Ecclesiastical Faculty of Theology conferred eighteen Baccalaureates in Sacred Theology and two Licentiates in Sacred Theology and the School of Theology conferred one Bachelor of Arts (Theology), three Masters of Arts (Theology) and seventeen Masters of Divinity. The Ecumenical Institute of Theology conferred ten Masters of Arts (Theology), eight Masters of Arts (Church Ministries), and one Certificate of Advanced Studies in Theology. St. Mary’s Seminary & University also conferred a Doctorate of Divinity, honoris causa, upon His Eminence Edwin Cardinal O’Brien, former Archbishop of Baltimore, now a member of the College of Cardinals and the Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Click here to read Cardinal O’Brien’s Commencement Address .


Canon Law Workshops and Course

St. Mary’s Offers Canon Law Workshops and Course This Summer

Two divisions of St. Mary’s Seminary & University are offering excellent opportunities this summer to learn more about Canon Law. The Center for Continuing Formation will host two all-day workshops (June 14 and 28) focusing on Roman Catholic Canon Law in Parish Life. Summer-term course offerings through St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute include a three-credit graduate course, Sacramental Theology & Canon Law for Pastoral Ministers, to include both workshops plus six additional class sessions. Rev. Msgr. David Fulton, St. Mary’s Associate Professor of Moral Theology, is the instructor for the course as well as the workshops. CEUs available.

See flier for details and registration.


St. Mary’s honors Fr. Thomas Hurst, President Rector 2007-2016

Over 200 seminarians, faculty, staff, board members and special guests gathered on Thursday, April 21st to honor and thank Fr. Hurst for his exemplary leadership of St. Mary’s over the past 9 years.  Archbishop William Lori presided at Evening Prayer for the entire community.  Remarks by Fr. Kemper, Fr. Witherup and Mr. David Kinkopf, Vice Chair of the Board concluded the service.  All the guests enjoyed a cocktail reception in Laubacher Hall where they were able to thank Fr. Hurst personally for his leadership and dedication of America’s first Roman Catholic Seminary.

Click below to read the speakers’ remarks.

Archbishop Lori

Fr. Hurst, P.S.S.

Fr. Kemper, P.S.S.

Fr. Witherup, P.S.S.

Mr. David Kinkopf

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Holocaust Remembrance

From the first blast of the shofar to its final, haunting note, St. Mary’s annual Yom HaShoah service was a moving and memorable interfaith prayer service. Planned and led by members of the Richman-Linehan Course in Jewish-Christian studies, it featured an address by Holocaust survivor Mr. Herbert Hane, prayer from the Psalms, Yom Kippur, and Taize, and an original litany. This was St. Mary’s Seminary & University’s 32nd annual Holocaust Remembrance service.

Between the lighting of the fifth and sixth candle on the Holocaust Menorah, the words “Forgiveness is a seed for Peace” were proclaimed in eight different languages, suggesting the amazing diversity of this class. St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute professors Dr. Rebecca Hancock and Rabbi Dr. Avram Reisner have been co-teaching the “Ten Commandments” with twenty-two students, including a typically diverse group of EI students, seven seminarians, and two visiting students from Towson University’s Jewish Studies program. The integrity and power of the service bore witness to the great collegiality the classmates have developed for one another, as well as their deep care for the occasion.



Festival of Preaching April 15-16

Three notable preachers will keynote St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute’s second Festival of Preaching, April 15-16. The festival’s focus is “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – The Preacher as Public Theologian.”

The festival begins at 7 pm with Dr. Arthur Sutherland’s talk, “Where Have All the Prophets Gone?: The Theological Role of the Preacher in the Public Square,” followed by the preaching of Rev. Brenda Girton-Mitchell of Metropolitan Baptist Church in Washington.  The evening concludes by considering “After Ferguson, Charleston and Sandtown: Preaching and Public Theology Today.”

Saturday, Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary of Douglas Memorial Church will preach at 9, followed by discussion of “Half Truths and Little Lies: Partisan Politics and Preaching Today.”

The morning concludes with Dr. C. Anthony Hunt’s address, “I’ve Seen the Promised Land: The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Prophetic Preaching” and a discussion of “Prophetic Preaching and Public Theology for Today and Tomorrow” by Dr. Reginald Thomas (moderator) Bishop Wolfgang Herz-Lane, Dr. Lisa Weah, Dr. C. Anthony Hunt.

Lunch is provided in the refectory, followed by 7 exciting workshop choices:

  • Rev. Dr. Alvin Hathaway – “Crying in the Wilderness: Developing Community Partnerships”
  • Rev. Rodney Hudson – “Dry Bones Can Live: Preaching for Community Change”
  • Rev. Dr. Ruby Gilliam – “Prophetic Church Leadership for Women”
  • Rev. Michael Parker– “Preaching a New Song: Engaging a New Generation”
  • Rev. Dr. Christopher Dreisbach – “Just Policing: Developing Community-Police Partnerships”
  • Rev. Dr. Reginald Thomas – “Preaching for Church Growth”
  • Rev. Dr. C. Anthony Hunt – “Foundations of Prophetic Preaching”

Our final preacher is Bishop Walter Scott Thomas of New Psalmist Baptist Church, with the day concluding at 3:30.

The $50 cost includes the entire program, including lunch and beverage break. Register online at


Lector and Acolyte Installation

On Saturday, March 12th, 2016, fifteen seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Dioceses of Albany, Greensburg, Manchester, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Scranton, Syracuse, Wilmington and Worcester were installed into the Ministry of Lector.  Fourteen seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Dioceses of Albany, Erie, Manchester, Metuchen, Richmond, Scranton, Wilmington and Worcester were installed in the Ministry of Acolyte.  Bishop Edward C. Malesic of the Diocese of Greensburg presided.

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