Local Group Becomes Part of the Global Lay Apostolate for Vocations in the Catholic Church

On Sunday, September 12, 2010 at 3:00 p.m. the newly established Serra Vocations Club of Madison County will be chartered and formally installed as members of Serra International at St. Ambrose Church, 820 W. Homer Adams Parkway, Godfrey, Illinois.  Thirty-eight men and women from various parishes in Madison County will be inducted as charter members of the worldwide family of Serra International.  Monsignor Carl A. Kemme, Vicar General of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, will be on hand to install the new members.  The main job of the new members will be to pray, invite and encourage new vocations to the priesthood, diaconate and religious life and to pray and affirm those who are already priests, deacons, brothers and sisters especially in the Madison County area.

The Madison Club has already been working together as a loosely formed vocations support group for over two years.  Among other activities, the club has been praying together and attending a monthly Mass for vocations, holding an annual priests’ appreciation dinner for local clergy, and their biggest endeavor to date a “Vocations Awareness Day” this past February at Marquette Catholic High School in Alton with 17 priests, seminarians and sisters speaking to small groups of the student body on their own call to a life dedicated solely to God and service to His people.  “God has never stopped calling people to the religious life; it’s just that in our present-day busy society, it’s hard to take the time to listen.  That’s what Serra is here to do, to say, ‘Take a moment and listen; consider, is God calling you to this life?’” says Dan Perkhiser, Vice President of Vocations, and member of Our Lady Queen of Peace parish in Bethalto.

The Serra Vocations Club of Madison County meets twice a month, once for a planning/working meeting on third Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. at St. Mary’s Church in Alton; and for a general luncheon meeting with a guest speaker on fourth Wednesdays at 12:35 p.m. at Saint Anthony’s Health Center in Alton.  This meeting is preceded by a Mass for vocations in the hospital chapel at Noon.           

Membership is open to any practicing Catholic interested in praying for and promoting vocations.  “Do you have a great love and respect for your parish priest or the sisters who taught you in school?  Then this is the club for you!” says Larry Greenwell, President of the new club and member of St. Mary’s Parish in Alton.  “Our general meeting is open to the public and anyone can come and see what the Serra Vocations Club is like.”  For more information or to join the club, please contact Emert Wyss, Vice President of Membership, 618-401-8888.

Founded in 1934 in Seattle, Washington, by four gentlemen concerned about priestly vocations, Serra International is now a worldwide Catholic organization of some 20,000 members, recognized by the Vatican.  Today, it boasts of more than 700 clubs on five continents.  Its mission:  To affirm current priests, deacons and consecrated men and women, to foster an environment that is conducive to vocations to the ordained and consecrated life, and for its own members to grow in holiness and their Catholic faith.  This is a calling learned from the example of Blessed Junipero Serra, the great Evangelizer of California.  Following in his footsteps we have come to share in the heartfelt concern of Christ Himself:  “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few!” (Matthew 9:37) Serrans are seeking those few good men and women.

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