Thomas R. Hurst, S.S., S.T.L., Ph.D.
President Rector and Vice Chancellor
Welcome to the website of St. Mary’s Seminary and University, the oldest
Catholic seminary in the United States. May the grace and peace of the Lord
Jesus be with you.
During this Year of Faith we celebrate he fiftieth anniversary of the opening
of the Second Vatican Council and the powerful impact of that Spirit-filled
gathering on the life of our Church. At the same time, Pope Benedict XVI has
made us conscious of the need for a new Evangelization in our time. The Gospel
must continually be proclaimed in every age and every place. Over the front
doors of St. Mary’s Seminary is engraved the great commission of our
Lord from the Gospel of St. Matthew, “Go, Teach All Nations.”
The primary mission of St. Mary’s is to prepare men to do just that as
priests after the heart of Christ, the Good Shepherd and High Priest.
Complementing the primary mission of priestly formation are the Ecumenical
Institute of Theology which provides graduate level theological education for
interested people and the Center for Continuing Formation which provides programs
for those already ordained and seeking to deepen their knowledge and formation in
Now in my sixth year as the president-rector of St. Mary’s, I am all the
more convinced of the importance of the diocesan priest for the life of the Church.
In his faithfulness, prayerfulness and zeal the priest brings the message of Jesus
to people seeking God in their lives. He celebrates the sacraments, the mysteries
of new life in Christ. He leads people to trust in a God who is faithful and
I hope that this website gives you an overview of the excellent programs at
St. Mary’s both in the School of Theology/Seminary division and the
Ecumenical Institute. In particular, I pray you get a sense of the vibrant
community of seminarians who strive to prepare themselves to serve God and His
Church as priests. In all of this, we live Auspice Maria (under the protection
of Mary) to whom this seminary is dedicated.
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 was established in 1968 in response to the Second Vatican Council. This evening 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 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 — 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.