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Sprint raises money for seminary education

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The runners’ faces revealed their concentration as they raced around the blacktop at maximum speed, then handed a cross-shaped baton to their classmate. With as much vigor as the runners raced, their teammates eagerly cheered them on. Sweltering temperatures didn’t slow the Seminarian Sprint fundraiser at the Basilica School of St. Mary in Alexandria May 29.

Each year, the event raises money to educate diocesan seminarians, but it’s also an opportunity for the students to get to know their future priests, and vice versa. Throughout the school year, each class has prayed for and written letters to a diocesan seminarian. “You get to your mailbox and you have a packet full of all these cards and a gazillion questions,” explained Peter Clem, who’s studying at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md.

Eighth-grader Tristan Obioha runs in the annual Seminarian Sprint May 29. ZOEY MARAIST  |  CATHOLIC HERALD


“I know a lot of guys will actually keep all the letters. They’ll have a little box,” said Jonathan Fioramonti, a seminarian also studying at the Mount. “I’ll do this too, I’ll go to that box whenever things are getting tough or you need a little pick me up. God is really speaking to you through these kids.”

Then, before the annual Seminarian Sprint, the students ask their friends and family members for donations for the Seminarian Education Endowment Fund (SEEF). The class that raises the most money gets ice cream.

Educating one seminarian costs an average of $45,000 per year. This endowment fund invests the assets which generates income providing a stable source of funding. The first distribution of $32,000 from SEEF was made to support the upcoming academic year.

On the day of the sprint, seminarians race with the students but also spend time with them in their classrooms. “A lot of the fundraisers we do bring in money, but the students aren’t able to see what it’s going to,” said school counselor Lindsey Dawson. “(With the Seminarian Sprint,) they’re able to get to know the guys that come.”

“This is really a ministry of presence,” said Clem. “It’s about being there and getting to know them.” The seminarians also are able to thank the students for raising the money, which this year totaled $5,619. Both the basilica and an anonymous donor matched the amount.

“It’s a great tradition,” said physical education teacher Amy Bruce. “They all try their hardest.”

“I’m surprised every year at how much they put into it,” said Dawson. “They come and they’re ready to run.”

 Find out more

To help fund the Seminarian Education Endowment Fund for the future of our diocese, please go to www.arlingtondiocese.org/donate_SEEF

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019