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Record-breaking Gala Raises $995,000

by MOSAIC Editorial Team

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The June 17 Archbishop's Gala smashed last year's attendance countand last year's overall revenue totalall in support of the seminary's priest, deacon, and lay ministry candidates.

Nine hundred guests celebrated the seminary's mission on a warm summer evening in the beautiful Grand Riverview Ballroom at Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. They enjoyed a fun night out that included a cocktail social, an opportunity to have their photo taken with host Archbishop Allen Vigneron, a chance to win some high-end raffle gifts, a fine dining experience, inspiring video presentations, and a rousing musical performance of I Saw the Light by the Sacred Heart seminarians and members of the Archdiocesan Chorus of Detroit (watch video). The program ended with another opportunity to socialize at an afterglow party featuring savory foods and sweet treats.

Counting all revenue sources, the Archbishop's Gala, now in its nineteenth year, generated an astonishing $995,000, the most this event has ever raised. The gala is the seminary's most important fund-raising effort. Proceeds bolster the general fund so that Sacred Heart's educational and formational programs continue to be the most innovative of any U.S. seminary.

Fr. Joseph Krupp, Sacred Heart alumnus Class of 1998 and priest of the Diocese of Lansing, emceed the Gala for his first time. With endearing humor (he was once a television comedy writer), Father Krupp kept the evening light and energetic, yet touching and spiritualan approach that no doubt worked well in his former ministry as chaplain of the Michigan State University football team.

A highlight of the evening was a gift presentation by the Michigan Knights of Columbus. The audience buzzed and then applauded when State Deputy Robert Fox and former State Deputy George Dann handed Msgr. Todd Lajiness, Sacred Heart's rector, a check for $135,000. The money completes a pledge of $1.25 million to fund the Fr. Michael J. McGivney Chair of Life Ethics, which is supported solely by the Michigan Knights. Bioethicist Dr. Janet Smith has held the chair since its founding in 2004.

Also, a check for $22,000 was presented to the seminary by Fr. John Esper and seminarian Dcn. Craig Marion on behalf of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Madison Heights. This generous gift will help to repair the narthex, or entrance vestibule, of our main chapel and restore its original decorative elements.

The raffle ticket drawing to pick the $25,000 cash winner was another highlight. A Sacred Heart high school and college alumnus won the prize, which was donated again this year by the Wiengartz family. The 52-Car Raffle prizes were gifted this year by Edmund T. Ahee Jewelers of Grosse Pointe Woods (diamond earring set), and friends of the seminary (Michigan Basket of Cheer and four $250 restaurant gift cards).

Particular thanks go out to the program advertisers, giving category sponsors, and exclusive sponsors. This special celebration could not happen without you, Monsignor Lajiness says with gratitude.

Including the Michigan Knights and the Wiengartz family, exclusive sponsors of the Gala are a mutual friend of St. Catherine of Siena Academy; The Trinity Charitable Fund; Christian Financial Credit Union; Ave Maria Mutual Funds; Saint Joseph Mercy Health Systems; Alpha & Omega Laser, LLC; Genthe Automotive; and Mersino. We also thank our sponsors Hour Detroit magazine, Allied Printing Company, and Nu-tech Graphics & Systems. (Please contact Emily Berschback, event manager, at or 313-596-7424 to ask about how to become an event sponsor next year.)

Why not mark your personal calendar today? Join Archbishop Vigneron, Monsignor Lajiness, and the seminarians of Sacred Heart Major Seminary at Archbishop's Gala 2017, Friday, June 16. It will be the Gala's twentieth anniversaryyou won't want to miss this historic occasion.

Visit to view a highlights video of the event as well as additional photo galleries.

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.