On September 22, 2019, supporters of our Chaldean seminarians gathered at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak, Michigan, for the sixth annual Stride for Seminarians. After a morning stroll through the Zoo, families gathered together in prayer and to celebrate Sunday Mass with Bp. Francis Kalabat.

The Stride for Seminarians annual event helps raise funds for the St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Diocese seminarian fund and pay for graduate seminarian schooling, while also raising awareness of the need to support seminarians.

Supporters hold sign in support of seminarians.

Since 1989, St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Eparchy has entrusted its seminarian formation to Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan. Sacred Heart is recognized nationally and around the world as one of the leading centers in the New Evangelization. Our seminarians are taught by Sacred Heart’s highly credentialed faculty members who are experts in their fields.

The Church wants the seminarians to focus on growing in God’s love, discerning God’s will more deeply, growing as disciples of Jesus and doing their school work. As such, the St. Thomas Chaldean Diocese has always had the policy that graduate seminarians should not worry about paying for their tuition or room and board.

Each year the diocese pays over $30,000 per graduate seminarian to cover tuition, room, and board. When there were only a few men in the seminary, that expense was more manageable, but, thanks be to God, we have eight seminarians—three of them being graduate seminarians— and many more men considering joining the seminary. Thus the need for support from the people of God to financially help with this expense.

Supporters gather before the morning walk for a prayer.

In July of 2013, tragedy struck the family of John and Ann Mansour when they lost their children Alexander (11) and Gabrielle (6) to a devastating boating accident. In the days, weeks and months of mourning—family, friends and the community came together to pray for the Mansours. Their third child, Adriana, survived the accident suffering severe brain trauma and was in critical condition for months.

The family took comfort from many, but it was the church, several priests and seminarians that never missed a day to pray with and console the Mansours. The family set up the “Alex & Gabby Memorial Fund” in memory of their children.

The family is honored to support the Chaldean diocese seminarian fund that currently has eight men preparing for the priesthood. May God bless the Mansour family and all those who support our seminarians. Please keep them in your prayers.

Save the date for the 2020 Stride for Seminarians on Sunday, September 20, 2020.

For more information about the “Alex & Gabby Memorial Fund,” visit alexandgabby.com. You can also donate to the diocese seminarian fund at chaldeanchurch.org/donate.