The Quarterly Newsletter
The Bay Area Serra Club
It is with much joy that we take this opportunity to offer a belated prayer and our affection to our Chaplain Fr. Benny Thadathilkunnel, MS on occasion of “Priesthood Sunday” which we celebrated this past October 28. With gratitude ask our Lord Jesus His choicest blessings for Fr. Benny as he continues his priestly functions bringing to one and all Jesus message of salvation.
Father Benny continues his work in the promotion and support of Vocations; recently our club agreed to present Father Benny $ 1,000.00 as a gift to the La Salette Seminary in his native India to support the ordination to the priesthood of four deacons in January 2013.
Vaya Con DIOS
We discovered recently Father Phil “Skip” Negley, M.S. Pastor of Mary Queen Parish in Friendswood has been named Provincial General of the La Salette order and is being transferred to Connecticut in the near future. We take this opportunity to thank Father Skip for his generous assistance to the Serra Club of the Bay Area as he has allowed us to practically make our home at Mary Queen's facilities for many years, where we have conducted initiation of new members, held our meetings, yearly Christmas and all our club's celebrations.
We thank Father “Skip” for his Priesthood and his infectious and happy demeanor as he has and continue to make God's presence possible to so many people. May Jesus pour His choicest blessing on Father “Skip”.
Our Vocations Work
Seeing the completion of this 2012 year in the near horizon it seems appropriate to look in the rear view mirror and see where we have been to evaluate our performance to be able to improve our future Vocations effort. Our participation in our principal Vocations projects included the Miriam Dinner; College Connect; Vocation Cross / Vocation Chalice; Fish Fry; Vocations Expo; and the Discernment Retreat. The installation of new Officers for the current term culminated most of our activities for the year.
Vocations activities are being planned, Shirley Smaistrla our Vocations V.P who until recently spent a few months recuperating from foot surgery has proposed to substitute the “Essay Contest” we have offered in years past with a new contest called “Prayer Contest” due to poor participation from the schools in the “Essay Contest”. The “Prayer Contest” appears to have had very good acceptance in Galveston and Shirley is hoping every Serran in our club to do their best to get their home parish to adopt the idea.
Details for the implementation of the “Prayer Contest” activity will be undertaken in the very near future. In the same manner, we will discuss in detail some of the other projects with which we have had a measure of success to acquaint our new members with opportunities to learn and get involved in the real Vocations work in their respective parishes.
On the mend
Ailing Serrans have not been reported, thank God. Let us offer our prayer for those having recurring and bothersome conditions.
It does not seem Christmas is around the corner but preparations are underway for our annual celebration honoring our Priests, Deacons and Religious with our traditional “Christmas Banquet”. Jerry Schrader assisted by his wife Christine is well on his way enlisting the help of everyone in our club which is an essential ingredient for the successful implementation of this event.
This celebration, started as an informal dinner held at local restaurants a few years ago during the early days of our club has become a premier event that exemplifies all that is good about our work in the promotion of Vocations.
The occasion recognizes our Priests, Deacons and Religious honoring their dedication and pastoral work in the Archdiocese and their efforts promoting Vocations which are so urgently needed. This event allows every Serran the opportunity to share a meal and the joys of the nascent Christmas Season with our Priests and Religious.
Organization of the event provides a “job” for each one of our club members thus making it possible to actively participate and become familiar with our local Priests, whose guidance and assistance is essential for the successful development and promotion of our Vocations work in our local parishes.
Many other circumstances permit the joys of sharing this celebration not only with every member of Serra but also with members of the KC's ( Council 8494) at Mary Queen Parish who graciously prepare the great meal we all enjoy. Additionally, young people from the Youth Group at Mary Queen provide their valuable assistance serving during the meal, and there is more.
Through the years Jerry has enlisted an army of “elfs” that miraculously exercise and display their generosity with their time, talents and treasure that translate onto groups such as the “bar crew” that provide and serve the wine and other beverages at the dinner; the rich uncles that make possible the purchase of Rodeo and / or Rockets tickets to be given to our honorees; and then the efforts of all Serrans to insure a door prize is given to each of our Priests, Deacons and Religious attending the celebration.
After all the celebrating at the Christmas Banquet we need to offer our gratitude to those that started and have continued with this “money making” celebration. Not only do we have fun and share with those that we respect, admire and love so much, but in addition, the event produces a small profit that it is primarily used to assist in the promotion of Vocations.
To finish and perhaps most important is the realization of God's grace inspiring each of us to exercise our Primary Vocation- trying to be Christ-like- as we participate and share in all the Christmas Banquet activities.
USA Council / Serra International Status
From afar we have witnessed what appears to be the impending separation of the USA Council from Serra International that is to be decided in November of 2012. Our club voted to join the proposed NVO (New Vocations Organization) to be formed and decided sometime after this situation is settled, hopefully sometime in December.
How will the above change affect us here at Serra ??
The need for more vocations to the priesthood and religious life remains a vital and pressing need of the Catholic Church. Our prayers and our efforts to affirm and support priests, deacons, seminarians and nuns must not slacken. Whatever is played out in this unfortunate scenario, occasioned by SI, must not impede us from vigorously pursuing our mission. Our mission is to encourage and support vocations AND to help one another become better Disciples of Christ. Let us never forget these overriding reasons for our existence.
Please note: The note above was taken from the August 2012 Bulletin of the Serra Club of Kansas City, Kansas.
Until next time, let us go pray, work for Vocations, and search for the face of Jesus in each other.