The Serran Litany

  • We’re Catholic leaders.
  • We’re committed to our Mission.
  • We’re focused on Vocations.
  • We’re do-ers.
  • We rise to the challenge.
  • We’re called: It’s our Vocation.

What (or who) is a Serran? If you can nod your head yes to any of the statements in my proposed “Serran Litany,” then you have the makings of a Serran. Through your involvement with Serra, you now more clearly see yourself to be a leader in your church, your community and your family. Your membership in a good, healthy Serra club should be an inspiration to you; an inspiration for you to grow in your faith and in your action. Serrans are committed to a great mission.

From the early days of Serra, our founders set the course of our organization to be two-fold: 1) to affirm, encourage and foster vocations to the priesthood and consecrated religious life; and, equally important, 2) to assist its members to grow in their Catholic faith and to bring that faith into the world for its benefit. The first of these two mighty pillars of Serra includes what many of us readily identify as our mission, namely, fostering vocations.

But it is the second pillar which makes us “Serrans for a lifetime.” What brings us together is our sense of spiritual growth and brotherhood with fellow Serrans. Twice monthly internal programs within Serra clubs around the world must be fundamentally oriented toward the spiritual growth of its members. Too many times, club meetings become more social, or what I call “informational,” rather than “inspirational.” It is my belief that the glue of Serra is the spiritual camaraderie that is found and nurtured at the club level. That is why extra effort must be made to attend Serra meetings regularly. Both pillars of Serra need our full commitment.

The Serra mission is very focused and unique within the Catholic church. Only Serra has a formal charge within the Church hierarchy to be THE lay vocations support organization. It was established early in our existence, on May 6, 1951 by Pope Pius XII, that Serra became formally aggregated to the Church through its formal structure, the Pontifical Work of Priestly Vocations. This underscores our belief that being a Serran is a special calling, involving special work, requiring our recruitment to this important mission of the best  possible leaders found within our communities.

Serrans are do-ers. Sitting on the sidelines, not getting involved, or continually patting yourself on the back for past involvement is not enough. The challenges of the Church remain today and your involvement today is needed.

Do not recruit prospective members to just sit and watch. The greatest mistake I have made in recruitment was to invite good, able people to the table of Serra and have no meat to give them in the way of meaningful, relevant activities, thinking that they would catch the spirit of Serra by osmosis. Club leaders must be prepared to properly welcome new Serrans into their club and to lay before them the noble work of the club, engaging their immediate commitment to those activities. The second greatest mistake is to invite people who cannot or will not make a time commitment to the club’s activities. For the well-meaning Catholic who likes what he or she hears about the Serran mission, but cannot find time to participate, another time will have to do. And in God’s grace, he or she will find that time.

So, our recipe for a healthy club includes the Serran Litany. We need Serrans who are leaders, people who are do-ers, those who say “Yes!” when asked. We need those who are committed to the dual Serra mission, which is focused on fostering religious vocations and their own spiritual growth.

It’s a calling. It’s a gift. It’s our legacy.

Greg Schwietz – President, Serra’s National Council for the United States.  gregschwietz@gmail.com