The Serra Club is named in honor of St. Junípero Serra, the patron saint of vocations to Church ministry. He played an instrumental role in building the Church on the West Coast of America. By the time of his death, he had built 21 new missions and converted thousands to the faith.
Have you ever wondered what you could do to show your appreciation to our priests, deacons and religious sisters and brothers who have dedicated their lives to serving the Catholic Church? Then you should consider checking in with one of our three local Serra Clubs.
Serra members commit to daily prayer for our priests, religious and for new vocations. We meet semi-monthly for discussion and a presentation from a member of the clergy or religious, and over time we get to meet the great people who devote their lives to serving the Catholic community.
During the year we have a number of opportunities to serve and honor these wonderful servants of God. Events last year included hosting special appreciation nights for local priests and religious, a barbecue to bring young men together with priests and seminarians, a special Mass with the bishop and helping with the annual priest ordination reception. Last February the local Phoenix clubs hosted the USA Council, bringing together Serra members from around the United States.
My heart is always warmed to hear Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted or Bishop Eduardo A. Nevares express their appreciation and support of our local clubs. Our Serra clubs are much more than local clubs, however. Each club is part of Serra International, a worldwide lay organization serving the Church throughout the world.
My wife, Alice, and I recently returned from Rome where we joined three other Phoenix Serrans and Fr. Dan Vanyo, who is serving as the Serra Club of East Valley’s spiritual director, at a global Serra event.
At this event we met Serrans from around the world. Countries represented with members included Australia, Brazil, Canada, El Salvador, Mexico, the Philippines, India, Thailand, Nigeria, the United Kingdom and Italy. At one of the sessions, “Serra around the world,” a member from each country took time to explain how their club supported vocations in their community, and it was a beautiful representation of our Catholic Church. Meeting such joyful Catholics from around the world certainly gives a boost of confidence for the future of our world during a time of such great global problems.
The Church feels this lay apostolate is so important that Pope Francis took time for an audience with the members in attendance to give direction and express his good wishes for the club. It was certainly marching orders right from the top!
It is my hope that our local clubs continue to grow so that the next generation of priests and religious have much support for years to come. If you feel you might be called to this important apostolate and would like to learn more, please contact Victor Hernandez, membership vice president of the East Valley Club. He can provide information on the three clubs and how to get involved. Victor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 291-6503.
Charles Wold is the current president of the Serra Club of East Valley, one of three clubs in the Valley. He and his wife Alice have been members for 15 years. Charles can be contacted at: email@example.com.