by MOSAIC Editorial Team
Only through the gracious support of our benefactors is the seminary able to do the work that it does. Support for our annual Archbishop's Gala is especially important. Sponsors and attendees become very real collaborators in a shared critical mission: to form the next generation of priests, deacons, and lay leaders who will preach and teach Catholic truth and the mercy of Christ in parishes throughout Michigan, the country, and even throughout the world.
Once again, our benefactors have validated Sacred Heart's calling with an astounding show of self-giving. A record-breaking $933,000 was raised by the Seventeenth Annual Archbishop's Gala 2014, held at the Grand Riverview Ballroom of Cobo Center in downtown Detroit on June 19. The gala broke the all-time attendance record, as well, with 850 guests joining in the evening of celebration, entertainment, prayerfulness, and fun.
The theme of this year's event was An Artful Gala, and it was truly a beautiful affair. Grand Riverview Ballroom is well-named: A wall of windows in its reception lobby gives guests a gorgeous panoramic view of the Detroit waterfront, and across the river of the bright skyline of Windsor, Ontario. During the cocktail reception (which included a wildly-popular hot scallop bar), guests strolled through the lobby chatting with old friends and buying up raffle tickets for a chance to win a flashy 2014 Corvette Stingray donated by Kathy and Richard Genthe of Dick Genthe Chevrolet in Southgate, Michigan. (Congratulations goes to the lucky winner of the 'Vette, Daniel Buchanan of Plymouth, Michigan.) Guests scrutinized silent auction item—such as a weekend stay at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Islandand placed their hopeful bids. Splendid choral and orchestral work enhanced the cheerful mood, performed by students from St. Catherine of Siena Academy of Wixom, Michigan, led by their music director, Amy Suave. Bravo, ladies!
Many guests at the reception took the opportunity to have their photos taken with host Archbishop Allen Vigneron. Many more caught the spirit of the gala's artful theme by becoming artists, themselves. TreeTown Murals of Ann Arbor, Michigan, set up a gigantic 12 feet by 8 feet participatory mural and invited attendees to paint their own 5 inch by 5 inch canvas panels. Only the mural designer knew what the overall image of the paint-by-numbers panels would ultimately reveal. Delighted guests were greeted at the gala's conclusion by a stunning mosaic featuring images of Sacred Heart's iconic architecture surrounded by imagery of the city of Detroit and state of Michigan.
The gala program began with an energetic song-and-dance number by Sacred Heart's seminarians, You Gotta Have Art, a spoof of the hit song You Gotta Have Heart, from the Broadway play Damn Yankees. Next came a magnificent dinner by Chef Jamie Miller of Centerplate, Cobo Hall's exclusive caterer. Fr. J.J. Mech, pastor of St. Anastasia Parish in Troy, Michigan, emceed the gala program for his first timeand broke up the crowd with his humor.
The evening included the presentation of two significant and thoroughly appreciated donations to the seminary: a check of $75,000 by St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Dearborn, Michigan, presented by parish council members Michael Burke and Robert Ciavaglia; and a check of $125,000 by the Michigan Knights of Columbus, presented by Robert Moody, former state deputy.
A special highlight of the evening was honoring a beautiful example of God's artful handiwork, longtime faculty member Sr. Mary Finn, HVM. Guests celebrated Sister Finn's forty-five years of service to the seminary as well as her loving ministry to the people of Detroit. After Sister received gifts of appreciation from Archbishop Vigneron and Monsignor Lajiness, she gave a moving talk on the Sweet Gifts of the Spirit and how they have empowered her religious and teaching vocations. Archbishop's Gala 2014 concluded with a tasty afterglow of sweets, cordials, and coffees. As a remembrance of the evening, each guest received a fancy cookie shaped like an artist's palette that included a note of gratitude from a newly-ordained priest.
What can we say but thank you to all of the attendees, sponsors, auction gift donors, and program advertisers who made the event such a success? Why not mark your calendar now to attend the Eighteenth Annual Archbishop's Gala on Thursday, June 18, 2015? It is great fun for a great cause. We hope to see you there.
MOSAIC Editorial Team