BALTIMORE — St. Mary’s Seminary & University is set to receive a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. through a three-phase initiative “Pathways for Tomorrow.”
The grant was awarded to further support the “design and implementation of St. Mary’s Institute for Pastoral Leadership.” The mission of the Institute is to “… strengthen St. Mary’s recognized leadership in forming 21st century pastors equipped to minister collaboratively with lay ministers and parish leaders to address the spiritual and pastoral needs of those served through the wide variety of ministries and outreach programs in Catholic parishes.”
With nine Diocese of Wilmington seminarians currently studying at St. Mary’s, the Lilly Endowment Inc. grant will further enhance their education, as well as hone their abilities to administer to the parishes of the diocese upon graduation and ordination.
“We could not be more grateful to Lilly Endowment for its recognition of St. Mary’s commitment to forming authentic and effective pastors, equipped in every way for the rigors of pastoral ministry,” said President-Rector Father Phillip J. Brown. “St. Mary’s mission is to provide the people of God with the kind of priests and pastors they truly deserve.”
Founded in 1791 under Sulpician tradition, St. Mary’s was the first Roman Catholic seminary to be founded in the United States. Currently, St. Mary’s is one of 84 theological schools chosen by the Lilly Endowment, which will invest a total of more than $82 million in the Pathways for Tomorrow initiative.
Christopher L. Coble, vice president for religion at Lilly Endowment Inc. recognized the crucial role theological schools play in developing future church leaders.
“Today, these schools find themselves in a period of rapid and profound change,” he said. “Through the Pathways Initiative, theological schools will take deliberate steps to address the challenges they have identified in ways that make the most sense to them.”
In addition to developing the institute, the school plans to use grant funds to fuel its continuing education resources for already established priests.