|The Serra Club of Nashville held a special meeting for prospective members on Sunday, Oct. 11, at the Catholic Pastoral Center. The Serra Club supports vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Above, Bishop David Choby addresses the meeting. Photo by Andy Telli
The work of the Serra Club to support vocations to the priesthood and religious life is vital to the Diocese of Nashville’s efforts to spread the faith, said Bishop David Choby.
The bishop spoke at a recent meeting of the Serra Club of Nashville designed to help promote the organization and invite more people to join.
“The mission we share is bringing the faith to people,” Bishop Choby said. “That really goes to the heart of the priesthood.”
The Serra Club has two chapters in the diocese, one in Nashville and the other in Williamson County. Among their activities is the sponsorship of the annual Vocations in Progress Christmas dinner for seminarians and sisters in formation with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, and their families.
Another major activity is the annual Seminarian Education Dinner, held each May, and sponsored by the two Serra Clubs and the Knights of Columbus, to raise money to pay for the education of the diocese’s seminarians.
Serrans also support vocations through prayer and support expressed to individual seminarians.
“One of the great challenges that face priests and seminarians is to have a society they live in … that is opposed to or indifferent to a life of faith,” Bishop Choby said. That makes the support seminarians and priests receive from lay people even more important, he added.
The bishop encouraged the Serrans to tell seminarians and priests that what they are doing with their vocation “is vitally important to me. What you’re doing makes a difference in my life., it makes a difference in my family’s life.”
“That’s a major part of your apostolate in the Serra Club that means so much to me,” Bishop Choby said.
The other aspects of the Serra Clubs’ apostolate, Bishop Choby said, is helping to recruit people to religious life by letting them know the joys of priesthood and asking them consider a religious vocation, and secondly to financially support seminarians’ education.
The Catholic Extension Society, which supports small, mission dioceses like Nashville, recently renewed a grant for seminarian education for $105,000, Bishop Choby said.
“One reason Catholic Extension has been as generous to the diocese as it has been is they see we have a wonderfully supportive group of lay people” like the Serra Clubs, Bishop Choby said.
The diocese is changing rapidly and becoming more multi-cultural, Bishop Choby said. The men preparing for the priesthood today “will face a reality different than the one I faced,” he added. “It’s a different place with different needs.”
One need that is the same, Bishop Choby said, “is the need for the understanding of God’s love for us.”
The Nashville club has about 45 members, but most are parishioners at St. Henry Church and Christ the King Church, noted President Jim Walton. The club is looking to broaden its membership to include more people from other parishes, he said.
The group is open to men and women, and couples are encouraged to join together, Walton said.
The Serra Club of Nashville meets once a month, except for December, May and July, at Christ the King Church, 3001 Belmont Blvd. in Nashville. The next meeting will be Tuesday, Oct. 27, with Adoration at 5 p.m. and Mass at 6 p.m. After Mass, there is a social time with drinks and light snacks and a speaker. The October speaker will be Father Philip Halladay, the new chaplain for the Serra Clubs in the diocese.
For more information about the Serra Club, contact Jim Walton at (615) 943-9022.