Jerry Schrader's talk at the December 2002 Meeting
The Bay Area Serra Club, is one of eight Serra Clubs in the Galveston/Houston Diocese. Tonight I would like to tell you a little about Serra, its history, its purpose, its size, some of the programs it has to foster religious vocations, and its functions in the Catholic Church for those who may not know.
Bishop Fiorenza is the leader of vocations in our Diocese and has appointed Father Clint Ressler and Sister Rosalie Karstedt as the Director and Associate Director of Vocations who both work out of the Chancery.
Fr. Clint and Sr. Rosalie are the right arm of the Bishop for vocations in this diocese, and the Serrans are the fingers, bringing all the directives, information, programs, etc. from the Office of Vocations to all the parishes in our diocese The Bay Area Serra Club has 15 Parishes out of the 160 Parishes in the Galveston/Houston Diocese with which we work The other 7 Serra Clubs work with the remaining parishes
The Bay Area Club represents the following Parishes St. Paul’s, St. Pius V in Pasadena, St. Mary’s in League City, St. Mary’s in La Porte, St. Luke the Evangelist, St. Hyacinth in Deer Park, St. Helen’s in Pearland, St. Francis Carbrini, St. Clare of Assis St. Bernadette’s, Shrine of the True Cross in Dickinson Our Lady of Grace in South Houston, Mary Queen in Friendswood, Blessed Juan Diego in Pasadena and Vietnamese Martyrs.
In 1934, four Catholic laymen in Seattle, Washington, decided to meet in fellowship to grow in their faith through programs of Catholic education and contribute to the mission of the church. They chose the support of seminarians as their special project. Their original purpose was "to assist in the education of young men to the priesthood." Financial support of seminarians was difficult in the 1930s, and since then many additional needs have emerged. Serra's purposes have evolved over the years in response to the changing times and needs of the Church, especially in light of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, Responding to Christ's call to "pray the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into his harvest," Serra has made the encouragement of Church vocations its hallmark. To reflect this goal, Serra restated its objectives in 1968 :
Serran’s works demonstrate its grounding in the baptismal call of unity in holiness, and in its mission to the world by calling forth laborers to reap the harvest of the Spirit. Serra remains a group of laymen and women who are committed to the work of the church and who seek to achieve excellence in that vocation while convinced of the need to support its ministers.
The Serra Time Line
In the 1940s, a prayer for vocations was added to the club’s objectives of fellowship and Catholic discussion. Objectives were also expanded to include all religious vocations.
In the 1950s, the Serra International Foundation was established. Serra was extended to Canada, Mexico, Peru, England, and Italy.
In the 1960s, Serra extended to Spain, Venezuela, Brazil, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Australia. Serra participated in the First International Vocation Congress that was held in Rome.
In the 1970s, the National Councils of Great Britain and Brazil were established. Serra became a member organization of the US National Catholic Vocations Conference.
In the 1980s, Serra extended to New Zealand, Ghana, Nigeria, and Switzerland. Serra participated in the Second International Vocation Congress that was held in1981. In 1986, women were admitted as members. The National Councils of Spain, Italy, Mexico, and the Philippines established. The Called By Name program was adopted by U.S. Bishops for use in every diocese.
In the 1990s, the USA/Canada Council, the Serra Council of Australia and New Zealand, and the South Pacific Council were formed.
In 2000, the Holy See dedicated December 7, 2000 as the Vocation Day of Jubilee. This day represented a special recognition by the church of Serra’s significance as a lay organization.
The programs that follow are some of the many diverse ways in which Serrans accept the challenge to fostering vocations in their community.
Called By Name
The 31 Club
Altar Server Programs
Life Awareness Weekend Retreat
Vocation Affirmation Programs
Sports and Cultural Events
Dinners, Luncheons, and Appreciations
Insight for Young Women
For instance, our club sponsors the Altar Servers’ Picnic for our 15 parishes, the Essay Contest, the Adopt a Seminarian or Novice program, the various religious panels and the Christmas Banquet for priests and religious.
Please keep in mind that we are always looking for programs that may promote religious vocations.
Thank you and God bless you.
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