Friday, May 25, 2007

new Rector at St. Mary's

Well, I guess we finally heard from the Congregation for Catholic Education! After a wait that seemed to last forever, the new Rector of St. Mary's has been named. Outgoing Rector, Fr. Leavitt, announced his departure early so that there would be plenty of time to prepare for (and for Rome to approve) the new Rector. But, that whole process took longer than ususal and caused a little bit of anxiety in the house. I myself just wanted the new guy to be named so we could be done with the whole thing. We were all expecting that to happen at the end of February! But, no matter, today the new Rector was officially announced and the Press Release sent to all the seminarians. On a personal note, it will be sad (and odd) to not have Fr. Leavitt around as Rector. He was like a great-uncle to all of us. I'll remember most his encouragement to "be priestly" now, in preparation for the priesthood to come. And his insistence that we be real men, St. Mary's men, men of strength, courage, perseverence, virtue, and prayer; gentlemanly and upstanding; men of integrity. It's too bad I hadn't had a chance to take a class with him yet.

For Immediate Release
May 24, 2007

Rev. Thomas R. Hurst, S.S. Named President-Rector
of St. Mary’s Seminary & University

Baltimore, MD – The Provincial Council of the U.S. Province of the Society of St. Sulpice has appointed Sulpician Father Thomas R. Hurst, S.T.L., Ph.D., as President-Rector of St. Mary’s Seminary & University in Baltimore, Maryland, effective July 1, 2007. This appointment has been made by the Sulpician Fathers with the approval of His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, Archbishop of Baltimore and Chancellor of St. Mary’s.

The Sulpician Provincial Father Ronald D. Witherup praised the appointment, saying, “Father Hurst brings a wealth of experience in priestly formation to his new position. He is a dedicated and loyal priest of the Church who is an excellent role model for seminarians.”

Father Hurst has been Rector of Theological College, the national seminary of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC since 2001. An alumnus of St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Father Hurst was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Albany in 1973. He has been a Sulpician since 1976.

Father Hurst holds a doctorate in Semitic languages from The Catholic University of America and has taught New Testament and biblical languages for many years. Prior to his current position at Theological College, he was regional superior of the Sulpicians in Zambia, Central Africa, and academic dean of St. Dominic’s Seminary in Lusaka, Zambia. From 1980-1992, he was on the faculty of St. Mary’s in Baltimore, serving as vice rector from 1986-1992.

Father Hurst will replace the Reverend Robert F. Leavitt, S.S., S.T.D., who has been President- Rector for 27 years. “Among the many accomplishments during his tenure at St. Mary’s, Father Leavitt was responsible for significantly strengthening the priestly formation program of the Seminary, for the construction of the Center for Continuing Formation and for the expansion of the Knott Library, which serves many diverse patrons. We are very grateful for his extraordinarily long and fruitful service,” said Father Witherup.

St. Mary’s Seminary & University was founded by Sulpician Fathers from France in 1791 and is the oldest Catholic seminary in the United States. In addition to the Seminary, St. Mary’s also sponsors a continuing formation program for priests and the Ecumenical Institute of Theology, a graduate evening division.

For more information, contact the Office of the Sulpician Provincial at 410-323-5070 or

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