Master of Divinity (Theology Program)
Intellectual and Pastoral Formation are accomplished through the Pre-Theology and Theology Programs. The latter directs seminarians, who have completed the philosophical, theological and formational pre-requisites, toward earning the Master of Divinity degree.
One's spiritual and human formation can never really be separated from one's intellectual and pastoral formation. The Program for Priestly Formation (136) states:
There is a reciprocal relationship between spiritual and intellectual formation. The intellectual life nourishes the spiritual life, but the spiritual also opens up vistas of understanding in accordance with the classical adage credo ut intelligam. Intellectual formation is integral to what it means to be human.
Pastoral activity receives from the Church's Faith the principles and criteria for truly pastoral action. There is often a temptation to place pastoral formation against intellectual formation, yet intellectual formation helps answer the deepest questions of the human heart. Pope Benedict XVI addressed this in his Letter to Seminarians (n. 5):
Yet it is completely mistaken to start questioning their practical value by asking: Will this be helpful to me in the future? Will it be practically or pastorally useful? The point is not simply to learn evidently useful things, but to understand and appreciate the internal structure of the faith as a whole, so that it can become a response to people's questions, which on the surface change from one generation to another yet ultimately remain the same.
Mount St. Mary's Seminary attempts to take an integrated approach to theology and to all the dimensions of formation. While intellectual formation, pastoral practice, and sacramental practica are necessary, they must build upon the foundation of a personal encounter with and configuration to Jesus Christ. While many programs tend to value function over being, seeing the seminary as an "industrial school" for training in the mechanics of doing priestly things, the integrated approach of Mount St. Mary's is concerned with priestly identity.
Mount St. Mary's Seminary offers a five-year theology program, inclusive of a pastoral internship year. The seminarian is expected earn the Master of Divinity Degree by taking 142 quarter hours of theology in the areas of biblical studies; pastoral and professional studies; Church history, sacramental and liturgical studies; systematic theology; and moral theology and spirituality. Seven courses involve a practicum. The curriculum was recently and thoroughly revised to account for changes in the Program for Priestly Formation and to meet the challenges of priests in the dioceses served by Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in the 21st century.
Since 1990 60% of those admitted to the Master of Divinity degree program have earned the degree.
Course of Study at Mount St Mary's 2011-2012