As the birthplace of U.S. Catholicism -- site of its first seminary, seat of its first bishop, home for a while of its first native-born saint -- Baltimore has a stake in St. Mary's Seminary. Its 200th anniversary is cause for ecumenical celebration.
The shortage of St. Mary's students with priestly vocation is typical within the church. Nevertheless, St. Mary's is doing fine. Particularly notable for outreach is its night school, the Ecumenical Institute, offering theological knowledge and spiritual insight to students of all denominations, professions and genders. But the seminary itself, the training ground of a healthy fraction of all American priests, remains its core business. Happy 200th to St. Mary's Seminary and the important educational and spiritual work that it does for Catholic Church and nation. It is part of what makes Baltimore special.