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Serra Club celebrates 60 years in Miami

Members support seminarians, foster vocations to priesthood and religious life

MIAMI | The Serra Club of Miami is celebrating its 60th birthday.

That’s Serra — as in St. Junipero Serra — and not the environmentally-minded Sierra Club with which it is often confused.

The Serra Club’s main mission is to promote vocations to the ministerial priesthood and vowed religious life. And in doing so, to assist members in recognizing and responding, in their own lives, to God’s call to holiness.

A Serra Club Miami banner is framed against the bell tower at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami in this file photo.

Photographer: ANA RODRIGUEZ-SOTO | FC

A Serra Club Miami banner is framed against the bell tower at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami in this file photo.

Archbishop Coleman Carroll was instrumental in bringing the Serra Club to South Florida at the same time he established St. John Vianney College Seminary in 1959.

“He knew he needed the support of the lay people to meet regularly and pray for vocations,” said Sallye Jude, longtime member of Miami’s Serra Club. “He asked prominent men of the community to step up and support St. John Vianney College Seminary with the gift of prayer, their time and their financial support.”

Serra Club USA was formed in 1935 in Seattle, Washington, with the mission to promote and foster vocations to the priesthood and consecrated religious life. The founders chose Father Junipero Serra, the great missionary, as their patron. At the time, there were two great needs for the Church: to support dedicated priests and religious, and to bring together informed Catholic lay leaders who understood and lived their own Christian vocations to serve.

The needs have not changed, and Serra activities focus on supporting Miami’s seminarians in their journey to the priesthood. Members also attend meetings and listen to speakers who focus on topics of importance for Catholics and vocations.

Serra Miami is active in supporting St. John Vianney College Seminary and its seminarians.

“We have two very important events each year,” said Marcia Perez, current president of Serra Club Miami.

One is the annual recognition of altar servers, which takes place after Easter. Two altar servers from each parish, nominated by their pastors, are invited to a special Mass and celebration at the seminary. They receive a certificate and a small gift “in appreciation of the work they do as young volunteers for our faith,” Perez said.

Then, in early December, the club sponsors a celebration to give thanks for all religious and priests. “The Serrans prepare all the food, and we have a pre-Christmas meal in celebration of all the good work they do,” she said.

Pope Francis addressed the 75th convention of Serra International with these words:

“...This is, above all else, what a Serran is — a ‘special friend’ whom the Lord has brought into the lives of seminarians and priests... It is good for us to reflect on what friends do. They stand at our side, gently and tenderly, along our journey; they listen to us closely, and can see beyond mere words; they are merciful when faced with our faults; they are non-judgmental. They are able to walk with us, helping us to feel joy in knowing that we are not alone... I encourage you to be true friends to seminarians and priests, showing your love for them by promoting vocations and through prayer and pastoral cooperation. Please, keep pressing forward!”

For more information on joining the Serra Club, email [email protected]

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