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All for the Heart of Jesus

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

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Archbishop's Gala celebration inspires overwhelming support from benefactors.

Without the generosity of our benefactors, Sacred Heart could not carry out its mission of forming the next generation of leaders for the New Evangelization. Our benefactors again have shown their faith in this missionand trust in the seminary's ability to carry it outthrough gracious support of the Archbishop's Gala fundraiser.

A near-record-breaking 850+ guests came together on Thursday, June 18, for the eighteenth annual gala at the Grand Riverview Ballroom of Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. Counting all revenue sources, gala attendees contributed an astounding $885,000 to support Sacred Heart's priest, deacon, and lay ministry candidate—while attendees earned themselves an enjoyable evening in a beautiful setting on a warm summer evening and all for a worthy cause.

During the cocktail reception that opened the event, attendees mingled around the ballroom lobby enjoying hors d'oeurvres and a panoramic view of the Detroit waterfront. Students from St. Catherine of Siena Academy in Wixom contributed to the reception's festive aura with a sweet-sounding choral performance. Over a hundred guests lined up to have their photos taken with a most gracious Archbishop Allen Vigneron, the host of the gala.

Many took this last chance to buy raffle tickets to win a cash prize of $25,000, donated by Marie and Ray Weingartz and family. Congratulations go to the winner of the prize, a resident of Saline, Michigan, whose lucky ticket was picked during an onstage drawing. Congratulations also go to the members of the Michigan Knights of Columbus for their annual ticket-selling efforts. Their hard work helped to generate $180,000 in raffle ticket sales.

Guests also had the opportunity to purchase 52 Card Raffle tickets to win a choice of four sumptuous prizes: a ring paved in diamonds donated by John Ahee of edmund T. Ahee Jewelers; two cases of high-end wine donated by Showerman's Fine Wine and Liquor and a friend of Sacred Heart; four $250 gift cards to four award-winning restaurants donated by a friend of Sacred Heart; and a Raymond Weil luxury men's watch donated by George Koueiter Jewelers.

The main program in the grand ballroom began at seven o'clock with a booming and attention-grabbing rhythm piece by an ensemble of Sacred Heart seminarian drummers. Each drumbeat symbolically represented the creative energy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Next came an equally attention-grabbing video depicting how the heartbeat of the Divinity is the life-pulse of salvation history.

Emceeing the gala program for his first time was Msgr. Patrick Halfpenny, Sacred Heart alumnus and its former vice rector. The popular pastor of St. Paul on the Lake Parish in Grosse Pointe Farms charmed guests with his understated humor and sincere love for the seminary. Archbishop Vigneron and Msgr. Todd Lajiness, Sacred Heart's rector, gave heartfelt welcomes focusing on the divine heartbeat that moves us all.

The evening included Michigan Knights of Columbus State Deputy Mr. Robert Fox presenting a check of $125,000 to Monsignor Lajiness. The contribution will help to fund the Fr. Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics, currently held by bioethicist Dr. Janet Smith and solely sponsored by the Knights. The program's highlight was a dramatic video featuring vocation testimonies by three newly ordained graduates of the seminary, Fr. Sean Bonner, Fr. Mario Amore, and Fr. Brian Meldrum.

Chef Jamie Miller of Centerplate, Cobo Hall's exclusive caterer, prepared a magnificent dinner that did not disappoint. Archbishop's Gala 2015 concluded with an afterglow of sweets and finger foods for the ride home. As a remembrance, each guest received a chocolate-covered pretzel with a thank you note from one of the fourteen newly-ordained priests of the Class of 2015.

All of the students of Sacred Heart say thank you to the attendees, sponsors, auction gift donors, and program advertisers who made the event a success. Special thanks go to these gala exclusive sponsors: the Michigan Knights of Columbus, Trinity Charitable Fund, Weingartz, St. Catherine of Siena Academy, Christian Financial Credit Union, Corporate Travel, Mersino, ConwayMackenzie, and Allied Rethink Ink. (Call Emily Berschback at 313-596-7424 to ask about becoming a sponsor next year.)

Why not mark your calendar now to attend the Nineteenth Annual Archbishop's Gala. It will be held for the first time on Friday instead of Thursday, with the date being June 17, 2016. Can the Archbishop Vigneron and the seminarians count on you being there? We hope so!

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MOSAIC Editorial Team

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Sacred Heart Major Seminary is a Christ-centered Catholic community of faith and higher learning committed to forming leaders who will proclaim the good news of Christ to the people of our time. As a leading center of the New Evangelization, Sacred Heart serves the needs of the Archdiocese of Detroit and contributes to the mission of the universal Church.