Theological College (Catholic University of America)

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

Theological College
Latin: Seminarium Sancti Sulpitii
Former names
Sulpician Seminary
TypeRoman Catholic seminary
Established1917 (1917)
AffiliationCatholic Church (Catholic University of America, Society of Saint-Sulpice)
RectorGerald D. McBrearity
Vice-RectorHy K. Nguyen
Washington, D.C.
United States
AffiliationsUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops; Congregation for the Clergy

Theological College is located near the campus of Catholic University, across from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and close to Capuchin College and the Dominican House of Studies.


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

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

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, is administered by the Catholic University school of philosophy.[1]

The seminary houses and forms seminarians from the following dioceses: Birmingham, Bridgeport, Charleston, Cleveland, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Fort Worth, Galveston-Houston, Hartford, Lafayette, Little Rock, Memphis, New York, Paterson, Pittsburgh, Portland, Richmond, Rochester, Rockville Centre, St. Augustine, San Francisco, Spokane, Syracuse, Washington, Wheeling-Charleston, and Worcester.[3]


No.NameYears served
1.mccl Rev. Francis Havey, PSS1917-1924; 1926
2.cha Rev. John F. Fenlon, PSS1924-1925
3.hos Rev. J. Benjamin Tennelly, PSS1926-1931
4.oconeld Rev. Anthony Vieban, PSS1932-1944
5.oconelw Rev. Llyod P. McDonald, PSS1944-1949
6.ken Rev. John P. McCormick, PSS1949-1968
7.ohe Rev. Eugene A. Walsh, PSS1968-1971
8.ohe Rev. Edward J. Frazer, PSS1971-1976
9.bur Rev. Anthony F. Lobo, PSS1976-1982
10.hay Rev. Albert C. Giaquinto, PSS1982-1986
11.oconor Rev. Lawrence B. Terrien, PSS1986-1992
12.hic Rev. Howard P. Bleichner, PSS1992-2002
13.dar Rev. Thomas Hurst, PSS2002-2007
14.mur Rev. Mel Blanchette, PSS2007-2011
15.pur Rev. Phillip J. Brown, PSS2011-2016
16.pur Rev. Gerald D. McBrearity, PSS2016–present


The sixteenth and current rector of Theological College is the Very Reverend Gerald D. McBrearity, PSS, S.T.B., D.Min., M.A., who assumed this position in July, 2016. He succeeded the Very Reverend Phillip J. Brown, PSS, J.D., J.C.D., S.T.B., who served as rector from 2011 to 2016. The current vice-rector is Reverend Hy K. Nguyen, PSS, M.A., M.Div, S.T.D. The faculty includes five other priests, four of whom are Sulpicians, who are appointed by the Sulpician Provincial Council, one permanent deacon, and one lay woman. The position of rector must be approved by both the president of the Catholic University and the archbishop of Washington.[1]

Notable alumni

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


  1. "Mission and History". Theological College. Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2012.
  2. "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 3, 2017.

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