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Happy Easter from St. Mary’s

In the name of the St. Mary’s Seminary & University community, I would like to extend to you our warmest Easter greetings.  May the Risen Lord shed his Light upon you and your loved ones.  May his gift of Eternal Life be yours forever. 

Fr. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
President-Rector and Vice Chancellor


2019 Holocaust Memorial

Since 1985, St. Mary’s Seminary & University has held a yearly Yom HaShoah service. This year’s Holocaust service focused on justice and accountability, which has been an important theme at St. Mary’s throughout this academic year. Students from both the Ecumenical Institute and the School of Theology—including Mark DeCelles, Marton Lonart, James Holman, Evan Ponton, and Patty Ruppert—planned the event.

The service was patterned around the lighting of the St. Mary’s Yom HaShoah menorah candles. The prayer service included a reading from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, several psalms of lament, prayers, and memoirs shared by seminarian Marton Lonart from an interview with his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor. As the service concluded, participants were invited to light their own candles from the menorah as a sign of their commitment to never forgot and to advocate for the vulnerable among us.


Celebrating the Life of Sister Rose Mary Dougherty, SSND

Former EI instructor Sister Rose Mary Dougherty, SSND entered eternal life on February 28, 2019. Sister Rose Mary taught on 23 different occasions at St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute from 1994 to 2011 in the area of spirituality. Many, many students were the recipients of her knowledge and wisdom. Her courses included Group Spiritual Direction; Theology & Practice of Prayer; Spiritual Disciplines; Introduction to Spiritual Direction; God, Creation & the Spiritual Life (with Dr. George Fisher); Science, Creation, and Theology (with Dr. George Fisher); and Conversion (with Dr. Michael Gorman). Her evaluations were always glowing, with comments such as “I consider it a real honor to be in Sister Rose Mary’s class.” “Sister Rose Mary is a magnificent model of prayer.” “She [teaches] with wisdom and gentle humor.”  “Her honesty and openness were soothing.”  In the 2006-07 academic year, she was selected as a Dunning Distinguished Lecturer at the EI.

A Memorial Mass will be offered on Monday, March 18, 2019 at 10:30 AM at the Chapel of Villa Assumpta. Contributions in memory of Sister Rose Mary may be made to the School Sisters of Notre Dame, 6401 N. Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21212.


Lector and Acolyte Installation

On Thursday, February 7th, 2019, fourteen seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Dioceses of Albany, Erie, Harrisburg, Paterson, Scranton and Worcester were installed in the Ministry of Lector.  Seven seminarians from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Dioceses of Altoona-Johnstown, Syracuse and Wilmington were installed in the Ministry of Acolyte.  Bishop Charles Kasonde, Bishop of Solwezi, Zambia and an STL graduate of St. Mary’s Seminary & University presided.
Lectors proclaim the Scriptures at liturgical celebrations and serve as catechists; acolytes serve at Eucharistic celebrations and bring the Eucharist to the sick.


Statement on Clergy Abuse

Office of the President-Rector
Statement from Father Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
August 21, 2018

 

Recent revelations about former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report convince me that I should address these matters as President-Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University.  Pope Francis released a very powerful letter today on this critical matter which I urge you to read. 

Some suggest that the Church is being treated unfairly, perhaps even persecuted. The Catholic Church is not the victim here anymore than Penn State or Michigan State University have been victims through revelation of criminal misconduct by their faculty or staff members. The thousands of children and vulnerable young people who have been sexually abused and harassed by priests and members of the Catholic hierarchy are the victims. And the People of God, who have not deserved this, are victims also.

This is a very sad time for the Catholic Church. But it is not a time to try to deflect responsibility. It is time to acknowledge responsibility, do penance and most importantly to reform: to reform not only words spoken, but reform the culture that made these horrible events possible.

St. Mary’s is committed to learning from what came before, and enacting policies and practices to assure no blind eye will ever be turned to wrongful behavior; that it will be confronted and addressed as soon as discovered, and those responsible dismissed from St. Mary’s.  We are also committed to forming priests who will support a culture where the vulnerable are protected fully by the Church, where not just abusers but anyone who covers for them are held accountable.

Here is my attitude: I have no tolerance for sexual abuse or sexual harassment, or any other kind of abuse or harassment on the part of anyone I supervise, work with or am responsible for. I am committed to investigating any and every allegation thoroughly and fairly. Any suggestion of child abuse is reported to civil authorities. As a Christian I believe in forgiveness, but forgiveness does not dispense with the need for accountability. I cannot change what happened in the past, but I have been and am committed to preventing improper behavior as long as I am in charge of St. Mary’s, and to make amends for past wrongs when that can be done. I cannot share confidential information, but if I could I believe you would be convinced that I mean what I say.  I am also responsible to insure that every faculty member at St. Mary’s today understands and enforces the same policy.

My predecessors started strengthening admissions standards, human formation resources and faculty screening over 30 years ago, something that continues on an ongoing basis. We want to be an important part of the solution, not to perpetuate the problem. We are profoundly aware that words and policies are not enough: actions must prove that our words are sincere. Those who know St. Mary’s today know of results that reveal themselves in outstanding seminarians and priests. I ask for your prayers and support so St. Mary’s can continue to provide the People of God with the kind of priests you deserve.

Please see Archbishop Lori’s statement on recent revelations to show our solidarity and commitment to confront and resolve these serious problems, in particular in the way we strengthen and grow St. Mary’s program of priestly formation. For the harm that has been done, I want to express my sorrow and beg forgiveness on behalf of the Church. I also want to pledge to you our undying efforts to do all we can to reform so that such horrors never happen again.

Sincerely yours, praying for the assistance of Jesus and Mary,

 

 

Rev. Phillip J. Brown, P.S.S.
President-Rector

 


EI Staff New Staff Hires & Updates

Dean Laytham is pleased to welcome new colleagues to St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, as well as announce one change in title.

Kaye Guidugli will succeed Patty Rath (who is retiring) as Director of Recruitment and Advancement. Kaye is an EI alum (MAT 2010) who has worked for many years in higher education (University of Maryland system). Kaye’s work there focused especially on providing access and promoting success for all students. Kaye begins work January 11.

Rev. Jason Poling, DMin, will be our Director of the Doctor of Ministry program. This part-time (5 hrs/week) position has already commenced, so that Dr. Poling can help lead us through the DMin accreditation process. Dr. Poling is an EI alum (MAT 2007) and long-serving board member. He is currently Priest-in-Charge, St. Andrew’s (Pasadena) and All Saints’ (Reisterstown).

Marcia Hancock is our new part-time Billing Specialist (succeeding Teresa Guion in a modified position). She has bookkeeping skill, computer expertise, and patience. The latter has been especially handy as Marcia is learning the new position at our busiest time of the year.

Dr. Rebecca Hancock’s title has been changed to Assistant Dean of Student Services, reflecting more accurately the full scope of her administrative work with faculty, students, and directing the MDiv partnership. Doubtless all who have worked with Dr. Hancock will want to congratulate her on this accomplishment.


Mission Trip to Guatemala

After an incredible trip getting to know the people of Guatemala and having profound epiphanies which have truly helped form them to be better disciples of Christ, the group of seminarians who traveled on mission have returned to Baltimore. 

We give thanks to all who made this trip possible. 

Reflections and highlights of the trip are posted below.

 

Guatemala Testimony | Ben Daghir, 1st Theology, Diocese of Erie, PA

“The San Lucas Mission directed me toward holiness. As I experienced the mission – the week, the history, and the people – I began to see the powerful impact of holy priests. Humble, missionary priests leave a lasting and living impact. Both Blessed Stanley Rother and Msgr. Greg Schaffer fueled their respective communities as pastors. They entered into the culture, into the homes, and into the lives of the native peoples. These two priests have given seminarians an example of true service in the face of difficulty. As men training for the priesthood, we couldn’t ask for a greater lesson and witness: we are called to embrace the culture and peoples we are assigned under our care.”

 

 


Guatemala Testimony | Zachary Watson, Pre-Theology, Archdiocese of Baltimore 

“The trip to Guatemala was a wonderful experience. For me, it was a testament to God’s faithfulness. We walked in the footsteps of saints like Blessed Father Stanley Rother and Father Greg Schaffer whom God sent to the people of Guatemala because He does not forget about His own. The good work started by them is continuing in Guatemala and it is incredibly humbling to participate in it. The kindness and generosity on the faces of the people of San Lucas can only be a reflection of God’s own love. I have never seen that many people with so much joy and a deep desire to share with us their lives and the blessings that God has given them. Every story began with Gracias a Dios. Clearly these are God’s chosen people and being with them for a week was a lesson for me in God’s generous, never-failing love.” 

 

 


 

The men on mission in Guatemala had mass in the room where Bl. Fr. Stanley Rother was martyred. The mass on the feast of the Holy Family was celebrated by Fr. Paul Maillet, PSS. In this photo, Brennan Ferris (Wilmington) is reading the second reading.
• • •
Bl. Fr. Stanley Rother, pray for us!


Please pray for these seminarians and Fr. Paul Maillet, PSS as they departed for their week long mission trip, December 29-January 5, serving and encountering the people of San Lucas, Guatemala!

Bottom row left to right : Matthew Himes, Benjamin Daghir, Nathan Brooks, Mark DeCelles
Top row left to right: Patrick Walsh, James Holman, Brendan Foley, Brennan Ferris, Zachary Watson, Fr. Paul Maillet, Charles Onyeneke



Patty Rath to Retire in January 2019

With deep appreciation for her extraordinary service, Dean Laytham announces the impending retirement of Patty Rath on January 25, 2019. For fifteen years, Patty (MAT, 1999) has been the welcoming face of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute, assisting hundreds of prospective students with their entrance into theological education. Patty has been an able advocate for St. Mary’s, an hospitable recruiter with prospects, and an indefatigable and generous colleague. In retirement she plans to spend more time with her grandchildren, while continuing to support and participate in the public and alumni activities of St. Mary’s Ecumenical Institute. We thank her for her service, and wish her all God’s blessings.


Candidacy

On Thursday, November 15, 2018, four seminarians – Evan Ponton and Zachary Crowley of the Archdiocese of Baltimore; Thomas Lanza of the Diocese of Metuchen; and Thiago Da Silva of the Diocese of Worcester were admitted into Candidacy by the Most Reverend Mark Brennan, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.  Candidacy is a liturgical rite of admission requested by a seminarian of his own Ordinary, which formally acknowledges and enrolls him as a candidate for Sacred Orders. Congratulations!