Follow @shmsdetroit

Ninth Annual Dinner for Life

Seminarians Host Fundraiser in Support of Pro-Life Organization

by Maggie Doyle

Fresh off their trip to Washington, D.C., for the forty-fifth annual March for Life, Sacred Heart seminarians returned to Michigan and organized the final details for the ninth annual Dinner for Life on February 9, which raises money for organizations whose work protects and upholds the dignity of every human life. 

Third-year graduate seminarian Rodney Abasso and second-year graduate seminarian John Carlin, along with thirteen seminarians who were part of the Dinner for Life planning committee, gave their time and effort to orchestrate the event. Since late October they have been preparing everything for the dinner, from the menu, schedule of events and guest lists, to the raffle items and centerpieces.

In addition to their studies, organizing an event of this magnitude keeps their schedules full. But when their to-do list is a tangible example of Christ’s mission for all of us, the task becomes the very manifestation of their vocation.

“It’s really a good four months of hard work and dedication, and we need to be sure that every detail is taken care of,” said Rodney, co-chair of the Dinner for Life committee. “We want to thank all of our donors who made this event possible and help bring attention to the pro-life movement. They were a joy to work with.”

This year’s proceeds benefit Mary’s Mantle, a local Detroit shelter for expectant homeless mothers. Mary’s Mantle was founded as a Catholic residential program in 2010. The faith-based ministry supports women in their journeys to motherhood, with services like extended after care and personal growth programs. The focus on all aspects of a person—spiritual, emotional, physical, educational and vocational—gives each mother and child a haven for comfort, healing and growth.

Despite a heavy snowfall, the church was filled as the evening began with Mass, celebrated by the Most Reverend Gerard Battersby, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit and former vice rector of Sacred Heart. Following Mass, attendees enjoyed a Lenten dinner of fish and pasta cooked by the seminarians. A moving keynote was then given by Christina Marchetti, director of client services at Mother and Unborn Baby Care, a crisis pregnancy center in Southfield, Michigan.

Inspired at a young age to protect the unborn, Christina became a vibrant force in the pro-life movement, working with youth and offering sidewalk counseling outside abortion clinics. Her desire to be a voice for change keeps her on the ground and directly involved with women who are seeking abortions. Through education and support, she believes women can be equipped to choose life for their children. With compassion and a steady presence, Christina ministers to women even when they may feel they cannot overcome this seemingly insurmountable challenge.

“I really feel that we’re at the height of the pro-life issue right now and everything seems to be coming to a boiling point. But I’m encouraged when I see these seminarians who are so passionately pro-life and the people in the community who are so engaged,” said Christina. “I can’t help but feel as though we are going to overcome this sin in my generation.”

The energy and zeal of the evening encouraged, inspired, and enlightened seminarians and guests alike, to take up Christ’s message of love and care for our brothers and sisters as we see the intrinsic dignity of the human person in every stage of life.

Maggie Doyle

Maggie is a freelance writer and editor based in Omaha, NE, passionate about sharing stories that captivate.

Stay connected with Sacred Heart. Sign up for our monthly newsletter.


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.