The Quarterly Newsletter


The Bay Area Serra Club

February 9, 2011

A few reflections seem to be in order as we initiate our Vocations activities. We recently likened this beginning to second graders at the first day of school equipped with a “Big Chief Tablet”, a brand new pencil with a sharp point and, a never used eraser, eagerly waiting for the teacher's direction as to how to proceed.

Our Vocations work is unique in that we are moved by our faith to do God's work encouraging men and women to discern and answer His call to serve. Our inspiration derives from the dedication and enthusiasm of those around us knowing we will succeed if we pool our resources and together go and persist in our Vocations work.

In the past, I shared with you the following:

“Promotion of Vocations is everyone's job. We at Serra are fortunate tohave this opportunity to participate in this noble work. No matter thenature of our activities and the diversity of our individual talents the workof everyone is essential if we are going to alleviate the critical shortage ofpriests and religious and strive to make a difference.Realization that we must work hard implies also we “work smart” in orderto maximize our efforts. A good example of this model is the success withwhich Serra has handled for the last few years our premier activity; i.e.the Christmas Banquet where we honor our priests, religious anddeacons. This past year, for example, under the apt direction of Jerry andChristine Schrader with the participation of everyone in our club thisevent was a resounding success. It would be beneficial to reflect on theplanning and participation of everyone in this activity so that with thesame enthusiasm and dedication we can go about working in all ourVocation activities”

Final results of the proceeds of the Christmas Banquet, surpassing all previously realized, validate the reality that when we work together we can do wonders. With this same enterprising spirit let us go and get on to do our Vocations work.

Chaplain's Corner

As we know father Benny is on his annual vacation visiting his family and friends in India, let us pray he renews his energy and enthusiasm and has a safe return trip.

Serrans on the mend

We continue to pray our member Serrans who have been afflicted by health problems of varied sorts fully recover and are able to enjoy good health. Including: Maggie Adams, Wade's wife who continues her chemotherapy and radiation treatment; Paul Centers, husband of Mary Lou who is also undergoing chemo and radiation therapy as he was recently found with lung cancer; Connie Floridia who is trying to get over a nasty cold; Mike Hilley; and Charleen Guilliams, and Jerry Schrader so that he can be ready for the Myriam Dinner.

As Virginia Thompson suggested in our last meeting perhaps one of our new members might wish to volunteer and take this activity of “Keeping in touch up with our members”.

It was good to see Mary Le Compte in good enough shape to be able to attend one of our last meetings. Prayer does work; let us keep this up as we know we need everyone in good health.

Ongoing Activities

With a renewed enthusiasm there are a few activities undertaken by other Serra Clubs in the District and by some of our Bay Area members at various stages of development. These include:

“Called by Name”

This activity was successful implemented by the Vocations Committee at St. Michael's Parish as it is described in comprehensive article by our own District Governor, Margo Geddes in the Winter 2010 Issue of SerraUSA Magazine.

Tim Healy has been working with Jim Connors on the “Called by Name” program at St. Helen's Parish in Pearland with Father Jim with whom he has been meeting to organize its implementation.

Similar organizational and promotional work for the “Called by Name” program has been and continues to be performed by our President Shirley Smaistrla at her Sacred Heart Parish in Manvel with Father David. An invitation has been extended to Father Dat with the hope his busy schedule will permit him to participate in the launching of this program.

“Vocations Cross”

This program will be started the weekend of March 5/6 at St. Mary's in League City. One family will receive at each of the four Masses that weekend the “Vocations Cross” to take home and pray for Vocations for one month. At the end of the month the Vocations Cross will be returned to the parish and a new set of parishioners will receive it.

Father Howard Drabek, recently appointed pastor at St. Mary's, was familiar with the Vocations Cross because the Vocations Committee at Sacred Heart in Richmond, his former parish, had successfully implemented it there. The Program provides an excellent opportunity to establish in our homes a Vocations friendly atmosphere. The Catholic formation of our children includes appreciation and love for our priests and religious and their ministry. This new activity offers an occasion for the family to actively participate in Parish life and allows children to learn about the wonders of Vocations.

Efforts are under way to bring this initiative to St. John the Baptist Parish in Alvin and possibly St. Phillip Neri.

Myriam Dinner

The 3 rd . Myriam Dinner will be held at Villa de Matel on March 24, the 4 th Thursday in March. Sister Pauline shared her plans for this year's event with Jerry Schrader and in turn J. Debonis, from the KC, has graciously accepted to cook spaghetti and meat balls that day. Sister Pauline indicated her desire to have a small “memento” for the attendants to mark the occasion and we are working on that.

In past years attendees to this event have met subsequent to the Dinner to continue the discernment process and in addition, they have as a group visited the disadvantaged and senior folks. We look for a great evening on March 24.

Serra and the KC's

It is fitting and necessary to say a word of gratitude to the KC's at Mary Queen. Their unselfish and willing support is manifested every time you solicit their help. This characteristic is universal as I find the help and support from their brothers at St. Mary's in League City extraordinary.

Here and There

Shirley Smaistrla recently acquired fifteen copies of the book “To Save a Thousand Souls”, by Fr. Brett A. Brannen – A Guide for Discerning a Vocation to Diocesan Priesthood - that we agreed to purchase and give to the pastors of our parishes, to make available to potential candidate young men. The books are being distributed.

Bill Clary is compiling a list from every one of our parishes of those people in formation for the priesthood, the religious life (brothers and sisters), and the diaconate. This effort has been undertaken to satisfy a request from Sister Pauline from the Vocations Office.

Essay Contest: Two parishes, St. Bernadette's and St. John the Baptist in Alvin participated in the contest this year; the 5 th grade winner was Andrea Perez, and the 3 rd grade winner was Shae Marie Montemayor, both students attend the CCE program at St. John the Baptist Parish in Alvin.

Hasta pronto, till we meet again let us look for the face of Jesus in one another.

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