Thirty-one teams. 138 golfers. Sunshine and short sleeve weather that felt more like San Diego than Plymouth, Michigan.

It was another day of camaraderie, friendly competition, and generous goodwill at the Desert Classic Golf Outing, now it its thirty-third consecutive year. The annual fundraiser was held on Monday, September 21, at the Inn at St. John’s golf course.

Why is it called the “Desert” Classic?—the wooded course couldn’t be greener and the only sand in sight is the occasional trap here and there. Founder Edward Bovich gave the outing its name because all entry fees donated by the golfers support the seminary’s Desert Formation Experience. This is the thirty-day spiritual pilgrimage first-year graduate seminarians make each year to the Holy Land. There they experience firsthand the places Christ walked and taught, suffered and died, while seeking his guidance in their own walk toward the priesthood.

Desert Classic participants enjoy more than just golfing. A continental breakfast bar opens an hour before 11 AM tee-time, a box lunch is delivered by the seminarians around mid-day, and a cocktail hour and dinner await the golfers after the eighteenth hole. The dinner includes a fishbowl raffle and prizes earned for accuracy shots—and bragging rights (plus a trophy) for being a member of a team that finishes in the first three spots.

Speaking of which, the first-place trophy this year went to crack golfers Fr. Bob LaCroix, Bob Barrett, Michael McInerney, Tom Scholler, and Todd Stevens. Other winners were Joe Kloka (50/50 drawing), Ron Grace (closest to the pin), and Bud Feely (straightest drive).

Golfers also enjoyed a testimony by Nick Manica, a DFE pilgrim this past spring. Nick spoke about the insights he received while spending the night in meditation and attending morning Mass in the Holy Sepulchre, the tomb from which Christ rose from the dead.

“I knew that the Lord was with me,” Nick related with quiet intensity. “Resting in this moment, I realized that Jesus eagerly desires to be with me and desperately wants me to respond to his life-giving presence.” Nick described to the dinner guests how his heart was touched when he considered “that this wonderful gift of Jesus’ body and blood in the Eucharist was being given to me just paces from where Christ sacrificed himself once for all on the cross.”

Would you like to form a team and be a part of the Desert Classic in support of the spiritual formation of Sacred Heart’s seminarians? Would you consider being a Desert Classic sponsor and be recognized prominently as a champion of the seminarians? Just contact Emily Berschback, event manager, at 313-883-8782 or for more information.

Sponsors are acknowledged in the program, by signs placed prominently at each tee, and through e-newsletter correspondence like this one that goes out to thousands of addresses. Our thanks go out to these 2015 Desert Classic sponsors:

Title Sponsor: St. Catherine of Siena Academy in Wixom. Event Sponsor: Knights of Columbus, Michigan State Council. Breakfast Sponsor: The Webber Group. Lunch Sponsors: Catholic Funeral and Cemetery Services; Judy Griffin; Brian and Debbi Maher; and Wallcovering Plus. Dinner Sponsors: Bodman PLC, Guest House, Mr. Urban Hubert, and Weingartz.

And please mark your calendar for next year's outing: Monday, September 12,  2016. Can the seminarians count on you, as a golfer or a sponsor?