Doing what it takes to provide for the harvest
Serra Clubs promote religious vocations
By Richard Tringali
'Go in the vineyard and assist with the harvest'
Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, has designated Serra International as the "Vocation Arm of the Church." As men and women members of the Serra Clubs of the Green Bay Diocese, we are dedicated to assisting with God's Harvest by fostering and affirming Vocations to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life. How do we do this?
Prayer is a major part of our membership life. We pray individually and as a group for vocations. Each member is assigned one day of the month in which he/she prays for Vocations. This is known as the 31 Club.
The Serrans participate in a number of joint events with our priests, sisters, deacons, seminarians, postulants and novices, and students throughout our diocese.
To promote awareness of the priesthood and consecrated life for children and their parents, an essay contest is held annually in Manitowoc County
Poster/calendar contests are held in Appleton, Green Bay and Oshkosh.
Our Appleton Club sponsors a special awards ceremony for Mass Servers.
In the summer, the Appleton Club holds a golf outing for clergy
Summer picnics are held for the priests, sisters, and brothers in Green Bay, Manitowoc County, and Oshkosh.
Ordination anniversary cards and birthday greetings are sent to the religious, priests, and seminarians/candidates in the Appleton and Manitowoc County areas.
At various times during the year, Serrans of the Diocese of Green Bay also invite the public to prayer services centered on Vocations.
Additionally, every year as the Vocation Ministers of the North Eastern Wisconsin Vocation Ministers' Alliance (NEWVMA) organize the Life Directions Retreat Weekend for young adults discerning the possibility of a vocation to the Priesthood/Consecrated Life. Members of the Oshkosh, Appleton, Green Bay, and Manitowoc Serra Clubs co-host this event by preparing all the meals and being present for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Saturday morning through Sunday noon. The interaction of the Serrans with the Vocation Ministers is a wonderful model of collaboration within our Green Bay Catholic Church. (See related story, Which direction is life going?)
Our Serra Club meetings promote spiritual growth and faith education for ourselves through prayer and meaningful presentations given by our respective chaplains and guest speakers. Many of our clubs start their bi-monthly meetings by participating in Mass and the Eucharist celebrated by their chaplain.
Bp. Robert Banks, as well as Fr. Doug LeCaptain (Vocations Director for the diocese) are most supportive of Serra and the many activities of the local members. Bp. Banks has said, "I do not think you will find any diocese where the Serra Clubs are as active and as helpful to the Bishop in the task of encouraging Vocations as right here in this Diocese."
(Tringali is governor of District 29, Serra International)