Bicycling UK Seminarians Raise Funds for Cuba

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LONDON, JAN. 21, 2007 ( Seminarians from the United Kingdom decided to help the Church in Cuba with a bicycle ride fundraiser.

Some 270 kilometers (167 miles) later, they had raised €23,500 ($30,465).

Six seminarians and the vicerector from St. Mary's College, near Birmingham, England, wanted to help the 77 seminarians studying at the seminary of Sts. Charles and Ambrose in Havana, Cuba.

The Cuban seminarians rely entirely on donations for everything from food to their teachers' salaries.

The Havana seminary receives an annual grant from Aid to the Church in Need. The charity reports that it has made Cuba a priority for aid in Latin America, especially as tension mounts with President Fidel Castro's failing health.

The charity's director of the Cuban project, Xavier Legorreta, visited the English seminary in December to pick up the check for the seminarians' Cuban counterparts.

"I was very astonished by the seminarians' success," he said. "It came as big, big surprise. It just shows how really important things can be achieved by such simple and very practical initiatives."