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12th Annual Dinner for Life goes virtual, supports Image of God Crisis Pregnancy Center

Sacred Heart’s Dinner for Life livestream Mass successfully raised over $5,000 for the Image of God Crisis Pregnancy Center, founded by seminary alumnus Dcn. Joe Iska.

by Editorial Team

Sacred Heart Major Seminary continued its tradition of advocating for a culture of life with its 12th Annual Dinner for Life on Friday, February 5th, 2021, in the form of a livestream Mass organized by the Dinner for Life Committee and celebrated by Msgr. Todd Lajiness.

Msgr. Lajiness shared in his homily, “It is the Lord who gives us life, it is the Lord who nourishes us with his body and blood, and it is the Lord who sends us forth as his disciples to bring the word of truth to a culture that so often sees the life of a child in the womb as disposable, as inconvenient, as troublesome. And so there is nothing greater that we could ever do than, in the midst of all of these efforts, to pause and to be strengthened by the Eucharist.”

Watch the full homily:

by Editorial Team

This year, the generosity of the seminary community helped support the Image of God Crisis Pregnancy Center, an organization on Detroit’s east side providing support for expectant mothers, founded by Sacred Heart alumnus, Dcn. Joe Iska.

“I had long been involved in the pro-life movement in Detroit, and often headed a group that did sidewalk counseling,” said Iska. “I was also involved in the Michigan Right to Life organization, and more and more I saw the need for girls to be counseled. This led to my involvement with what was then called the Imago Dei Crisis Pregnancy Center on the Northeast side of Detroit. After Imago Dei moved out of Detroit to Warren, there became a need for a Crisis Pregnancy Center in Detroit. After talking and prayerfully discerning with Msgr. Trapp, Pastor of St. Monica-St. Augustine, we set up shop at the parish to minister to the surrounding neighborhood. Within six months we had a large following and started to build up support from the community and St. Monica-St. Augustine Parish.”

The impact of Image of God is great; after only three years of operation, Bp. Donald Hanchon, then Pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish, approached Iska about opening a second location to additionally serve Detroit’s Hipsanic community.

“This was followed by Fr. Ted Parker contacting us to start our third location at St. Charles Lwanga Parish,” Iska said. 

“Most recently, the Center has established its fourth satellite location in Madison Heights. All our centers are run with the help of volunteers and operate with a low budget that helps to pay our operational costs.”

These volunteers help the center reach five goals, according to Iska: for women to continue their pregnancies through the full term; to provide women with the basic material things they need; to provide spiritual counseling; to teach basic parenting skills; and to work with and train women with vocational skills in order to support the mother and baby after childbirth.

The work and growth of Image of God is all possible due to the charitable contributions of others, including Sacred Heart’s Dinner for Life, which raised $5,400 for the organization.

“I would like to thank each of you who joined us virtually in prayer for the unborn,” said Andrew Smith, Chairman for the 2021 Dinner for Life at the conclusion of the evening. “Please continue to pray for those fighting to defend life at all stages, and in particular, those serving at the Image of God Crisis Pregnancy Center, the beneficiary of this year’s Dinner for Life.”

View Andrew’s full remarks here:

Sacred Heart extends warm thanks to all who participated in this year’s virtual Dinner for Life, and encourages continued support of the mission to create a culture of life. To make a gift supporting the mission at Image of God, visit

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.