Category: St. Mary’s News

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.

 

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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

 

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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.
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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

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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!

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Statement on Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting

St. Mary’s Seminary & University
Statement on
Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting
October 30, 2018

 

The St. Mary’s Seminary & University Community grieves the loss of life and injuries inflicted at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania last Saturday. Our hearts and our prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims. We weep with you and we share with you, as we are able, the pain of this loss and outrage over the kind of malicious violence this act represents. We decry every form of antisemitism and the kinds of violence, unkindness, and cruelty it inevitably leads to. Our faith and the people who we are compel us to express our grief and solidarity with those who are suffering because of this violent act.

On Saturday, October 27 a morally deranged, anti-Semitic killer entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and murdered eleven innocent and vulnerable congregants attending a baby-naming service, and seriously wounded six others. The assailant was eventually taken down by law enforcement officers, though not killed, and will be brought justice.

Our thoughts and prayers go out first and foremost to all the victims of the murders and their families and loved ones. We would be at a loss for words in the face of so great a tragedy, of such a heinous crime, if we were not people of the Word whose faith, we believe, is grounded in the very Word of God. And so, as people of the book of the Gospels we hold those who lost their lives and their loved ones in Pittsburgh and all People of the Book, all members of the Jewish community in our hearts at this time and grieve for them and with them.

We are deeply conscious of the historic injustices and cruelty that Jews have suffered, often enough at the hands of adherents of our own religious faith, a fact which causes us undying shame. To the extent that the toxic thought processes that fueled the cruelty of the Tree of Life murderer may have been influenced in any way by distorted attitudes toward members of the Jewish community in our own faith traditions, we accept responsibility for such horrific acts and beg forgiveness of the Jewish community and of Almighty God. There is no place in our faiths, as indeed there never should have been, for antisemitism. There is no place in civilized society for antisemitism. There should be no place in humanity for antisemitism. We of St. Mary’s Seminary & University denounce every form of antisemitism and those who adopt such attitudes and the ideas and rhetoric that proceed from them. Indeed, we denounce every form of unkind, cruel, provocative, inciteful and hateful attitudes and rhetoric, which by their nature fuel derangement and the kind of passions which eventually lead to such acts of violence and criminal behavior.

As people of the Word we know, as all People of the Book do, that words matter. The words we use matter. The way we speak matters. No one who speaks unkind, cruel, hateful or inciteful words can deny responsibility when acts of violence break out fueled by impassioned, unkind, cruel and hateful speech. As Americans, our Constitution may prohibit criminal prosecution of people for the words they use or other ways they express themselves, but our culture should not tolerate unkind, cruel, hateful and inciteful speech, ideas, and non-verbal forms of expression. We should denounce such speech and forms of expression at every turn, and our common values and commitment to the dignity of every person, as well as our reverence for life itself, should cause us to shun all who propagate hateful ideation though their words and other forms of expression. Our Constitution may require government officials to tolerate many abuses of language and expression that are at the core of cruel and hateful acts, but our culture ought to condemn them and shun those who engage in reckless and dangerous forms of expression that often enough intentionally incite others to acts of violence and cruelty, as well as when unkindness and cruelty are unintentional and things are said or otherwise expressed out of ignorance or simple boorishness.

The Tree of Life shooting raises many important issues our society seems unable to address effectively: the proliferation of dangerous weapons and gun violence; our society’s inability and even unwillingness to take effective measures to protect the most vulnerable among us; proposals to turn places of worship and schools into armed camps in the name of protecting the vulnerable, rather than protecting the vulnerable by addressing the root causes of the many acts of violence which have occurred in such places; an increasingly toxic culture that we have allowed to spring up and flourish in the name of a right of freedom of expression, a culture seemingly heedless of the right of all people to live in a society and a culture that is safe;  the failure of our culture to sufficiently nurture the very best in us, especially the capacity for kindness and regard and care for others; whether or not state-sponsored killing is the only response we can offer to hold those who kill unlawfully accountable. It is our hope that in time the Tree of Life slayings will, with other recent and not so recent horrific acts of violence, impel all responsible citizens to engage effective means to address these pressing social issues and needs in ways that will make our society safe and our culture kinder and more caring. We encourage all responsible citizens to recognize that we are governed by more than our Constitution, that we are accountable to One who is far greater and far more important than our civil government or our Constitution; we are governed, or ought to be governed, more importantly and more effectively by common moral and social values that seek to protect the vulnerable and provide for a culture and a society in which all can live in peace and safety as brothers and sisters of a common humanity.

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Alumni Days 2018

Over 100 alumni  returned to St. Mary’s to celebrated Alumni Days October 17th and 18th.  Fr. Phillip Brown gave the homily at Evening Prayer on October 17th  (click here to read), and Fr. Robert Leavitt, celebrating his 50th anniversary of ordination, was the celebrant and homilist.  Fr. Leavitt’s homily emphasized the theme of “The Courage of Reform in the Joy of the Gospel.” (click here to read).

Fr. Brown announced a new award in Fr. Leavitt’s honor – the Robert F. Leavitt Award for Pastoral Excellence given in recognition of Fr. Leavitt’s commitment to excellence in pastoral leadership as President Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University.  Fr. Leavitt was named the inaugural recipient.

Photo Gallery

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Welcome New Seminarians!

New seminarians pose for photo on the steps of the Historic Seminary Chapel in Baltimore (the original site of America’s first Catholic seminary).

Fr. Phillip Brown, P.S.S., President-Rector, the Faculty and St. Mary’s Seminary & University Seminarians welcomed 20 men to formation at America’s first Roman Catholic Seminary on August 21st.  This year’s incoming class includes men from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the dioceses of Albany, Erie, Harrisburg, Paterson, Scranton, Wilmington, Worcester, Zhaoxian, China as well as two priests from the dioceses of Manfe and Kumbo, Cameroon, who are studying for their S.T.L. degrees.  The Introduction to Seminary Life program concluded with a retreat for the entire community and Mass of the Holy Spirit, which was celebrated by Most Rev. William Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore.  Classes begin on August 30th.

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2018 Graduation

“Accept our honor” and “pay your learning forward” in ministry, Dr. James Buckley told St. Mary’s Seminary & University graduates on Thursday evening, May 17. These included 16 From the School of Theology, and 21 from the Ecumenical Institute, as well as Bishop Dennis Madden, who was awarded the Doctor of Divinity honoris causa for his “life-long commitment to merciful compassion, peace and reconciliation, to enriching education, and to patient ecumenism.”

Read Dr. Buckley’s Full Commencement Address

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Diaconate Ordination

Most Rev. Robert Cunningham, Bishop of Syracuse NY, ordained Nathan Brooks, Diocese of Syracuse, to the Order of Deacon at St. Mary’s Seminary on Saturday, April 21st.  Rev. Mr. Nathan Brooks was joined in celebration by Fr. Brown, St. Mary’s faculty members, and many priests of his home diocese of Syracuse as well as the community of St. Mary’s Seminary.  Over 100 family and friends traveled to Baltimore for the Liturgy and Celebratory Reception.  Rev. Chris Celentano (SM, Class of 2008), who is Rev. Mr. Brook’s pastor from Syracuse, celebrated the Mass of Thanksgiving for the community on Sunday morning, and Rev. Mr. Brooks preached.

For photos of the event, please click on the link to the gallery below.

https://larrycannerphotography.shootproof.com/gallery/4-21-18

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