Theological College (Catholic University of America)

Coordinates: 38°55′51″N 76°59′58″W / 38.93083°N 76.99944°W / 38.93083; -76.99944
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Theological College
The seal of Theological College
Latin: Seminarium Sancti Sulpitii
Former names
Sulpician Seminary
TypeCatholic seminary
Established1917 (1917)
Religious affiliation
Catholic Church (Catholic University of America, Society of Saint-Sulpice)
RectorGladstone Stevens, P.S.S.
Vice-RectorChris Arockiaraj, P.S.S.
Washington, D.C.
United States
AffiliationsUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Congregation for the Clergy
Theological College

Theological College is the national Catholic diocesan seminary for the Latin Church in the United States. The school was founded in 1917 and is located in Washington, D.C. It is affiliated with the Catholic University of America and is owned and administered by priests of the Society of Saint-Sulpice.

It is located near the campus of CUA, across from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and close to other Brookland-area Catholic institutions such as Capuchin College, the house of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and the Dominican House of Studies. The larger neighborhood is for this reason referred to as "Little Rome".


In 1889, priests belonging to the Society of Saint Sulpice were asked to administer the divinity college of the Catholic University of America. In 1917, they began building their own seminary next to the university. The Sulpician Seminary was first run as an extension of Saint Mary Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland, but became an independent institution in 1924. In 1940, the Catholic University school of theology assumed responsibility for training its seminarians, whereupon the seminary was renamed Theological College.[1]

Sulpician tradition[edit]

The formation program of Theological College is guided by the principles and ethos of the Sulpician Fathers as articulated by Father Jean-Jacques Olier, founder of the Society of St. Sulpice: “to live supremely for God in Christ Jesus our Lord, so much so that the inner life of His only Son should penetrate to the inmost depths of our heart and to such an extent that everyone should be able to say ‘It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.'” Founded to reform the clergy in 1630s France, the Society retains its commitment of “developing men of character, educating effective priests, forming pastoral leaders and nurturing an apostolic spirit.”

The Society’s five hallmarks are a commitment to ministerial priesthood, the cultivation of an apostolic spirit, an emphasis on spiritual formation, the creation of a formational community, and the exercise of collegiality.

This approach gives special emphasis and recognition to the importance of mental prayer and spiritual direction. Particular devotion to Our Lady under the title Sedes Sapientiae, Seat of Wisdom, is another distinctive characteristic.

Academic programs[edit]

The Order of Saint-Sulpice focuses on training priests through its seminaries.[2] To that end, the Theological College provides priestly formation through three separate academic programs: a two-year certified pre-theology program; a theology program; and the Basselin scholars program for undergraduate-level seminarians.[1] The latter, an eponymous endowed scholarship of Theodore B. Basselin for “the very best and brightest seminarians”, is administered by the Catholic University school of philosophy and students complete both a Ph.B and a Ph.L in Philosophy through this program.

The theology program at Theological College offers three degree tracks for prospective seminarians: an S.T.B./M.Div. program, an S.T.B./S.T.L. program adding an extra year of studies after priestly ordination, and an S.T.B./J.C.L. program adding two extra years of study after priestly ordination.

The seminary houses and forms seminarians from the following dioceses: Charleston, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Los Angeles, Fort Worth, Little Rock, Lafayette, Louisville, Memphis, New York, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Richmond, Rockville Centre, Salt Lake City, Santa Fe, St. Augustine, Syracuse, Washington, and Worcester.[3]


No. Name Years served
1. mccl Rev. Francis Havey, PSS 1917-1924; 1926
2. cha Rev. John F. Fenlon, PSS 1924-1925
3. hos Rev. J. Benjamin Tennelly, PSS 1926-1931
4. oconeld Rev. Anthony Vieban, PSS 1932-1944
5. oconelw Rev. Llyod P. McDonald, PSS 1944-1949
6. ken Rev. John P. McCormick, PSS 1949-1968
7. ohe Rev. Eugene A. Walsh, PSS 1968-1971
8. ohe Rev. Edward J. Frazer, PSS 1971-1976
9. bur Rev. Anthony F. Lobo, PSS 1976-1982
10. hay Rev. Albert C. Giaquinto, PSS 1982-1986
11. oconor Rev. Lawrence B. Terrien, PSS 1986-1992
12. hic Rev. Howard P. Bleichner, PSS 1992-2002
13. dar Rev. Thomas Hurst, PSS 2002-2007
14. mur Rev. Mel Blanchette, PSS 2007-2011
15. pur Rev. Phillip J. Brown, PSS 2011-2016
16. pur Rev. Gerald D. McBrearity, PSS 2016–2020
17. pur Rev. Dominic G. Ciriaco, PSS 2020–2023
18. pur Rev. Gladstone Stevens, PSS 2023-present


The eighteenth and current rector of Theological College is the Reverend Gladstone Stevens, PSS, Ph.D., who assumed this position in August 2023. He succeeded Reverend Dominic Ciriaco, PSS, who served as rector from 2020 to 2023. The current vice-rector is Reverend Chris Arockiaraj, PSS, M.S., S.T.B., Ph.L., Ph.D., D. Min., The faculty includes six priests, five of whom are Sulpicians, and one permanent deacon who are appointed by the Sulpician Provincial Council. The position of rector must be approved by both the president of the Catholic University and the archbishop of Washington.[1]

Notable alumni[edit]

Theological College is the alma mater of over 1,500 priests, including 45 bishops and six cardinals.[2] These include:


  1. ^ a b c "Mission and History". Theological College. Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Theological College, Washington, D.C." What We Do. Sulpician Order. Archived from the original on March 10, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  3. ^ "Sending Dioceses". Theological College. Retrieved October 14, 2023.

External links[edit]

38°55′51″N 76°59′58″W / 38.93083°N 76.99944°W / 38.93083; -76.99944