About Serra

Serra Overview

Serran History:

Serra was begun in 1935 in Seattle, Washington by four Catholic laymen.  In seeking a name for their new club, they agreed to call the newly-founded organization “Serra” after Father Junipero Serra (now Saint Serra), a Spanish Franciscan missionary in the western United States.  Since then, Serra Clubs have become living memorials to this humble missionary.


Eventually, Serra International was aggregated to the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations.   Accordingly, Serrans around the world have accepted the challenge to become the “Vocations Arm of the Church.”


The basic units of today’s Serra International are its Serra Clubs, which are its primary presence in local communities.  Serra’s international, national, area, and district structures exist to support and assist local clubs in functioning efficiently, with the clubs working within their diocesan parishes to advance vocational awareness….with each club formed only after it has received support from the appropriate Ordinary.


Today, Serra has over 600 clubs in 52 countries with over 12,000 members.

The (USA) Serran Mission Statement:

Believing that the Holy Spirit directs the formation of its flock as a unified whole, so Serrans, as the “lay vocational arm of the Church,” work with their Bishops, Dioceses and Religious Vocations Directors to encourage and support priests and religious by:


·      Fostering and promoting, within its membership, collaborators, and the Catholic community at large, the view that vocations to the ministerial priesthood and religious life in the Catholic Church are examples of positive lifestyles;

·      Inviting all men and women to follow their baptismal calls;

·      Developing openness to the opinions of others, both within and without the Catholic community; and

·      Assisting its members in recognizing and responding to God’s call to holiness in Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit.

Who are Serrans?


Serrans are active and caring Catholics who realize the need to call from their midsts individuals to become priests, deacons, religious sisters and brothers, and lay ministers to serve the Church.  Membership is open to lay men, lay women and permanent deacons.



What are Some Examples of How Serra Promotes Vocations?


·       Each Serra Club focuses its work and ministry in building small Christian communities, complementing parish and diocesan vocational initiatives. 


·       Serra clubs are empowered by prayer and shared Eucharistic liturgy so they can invite one another to ask, “Have you considered being a priest, sister or brother?”  Serra clubs promote vocations by implementing prayer, awareness, affirmation and support programs.


·      Serra clubs work to build cooperation and collaboration with other lay organizations in vocational work, such as the Knights of Columbus and the National Council of Catholic Women. 


·      Serra activities include attending meetings with speakers who focus on topics of importance for Catholics and on vocations.   In addition to participating in group activities (e.g., annual seminarian barbeques, priest dinners, altar server breakfasts, etc.), Serra members do noteworthy work on their own time, affirming seminarians, priests and religious.  

·      Serra clubs work closely with the Newman Centers of local colleges and universities in supporting the faith needs of their students, especially those who may be considering the pursuit of the priesthood or religious life. 

·      Serra Clubs work closely with parishes to assist in the formation of parish vocations teams that can:


o   Establish “31 Clubs” which are prayer programs built around the concept of people attending Mass and praying for priestly and religious vocations (as well as individual priests, seminarians, and religious persons) every month on specific dates.  Calendars can be displayed in parishes along with an attached pen for people to use in signing up.  On an ongoing basis, invitations can be inserted in parish bulletins or pews, or occasional reminders can be made by pastors, inviting people to join or be faithful to this “no dues, no meetings” club.

o   Begin a “Traveling Chalice Program”.  At the end of a designated Sunday Mass, a family, couple or individual receives the Chalice from the priest.  They take it home, place it in a prominent location and pray daily for vocations.  It may be the first time this topic has been explored by that family, and thus could be a very important week for them. This can also be an opportunity to invite other family members and friends to join in sharing and in praying.  Participants can use a “memory book” to comment on their experiences, thoughts and ideas as well as prayers or plans that result from their week with the Chalise. The memory book can then become a source for potential members of the parish vocations team.

o   Celebrate one or more of the established national vocation events throughout the year. The primary annual events are Priesthood Sunday, World Day of Prayer for Vocations, World Day for Consecrated Life, and National Vocation Awareness Week.  Ordinarily, a parish will focus on just one of these in the first year, and then add more gradually.  Many parishes begin with Priesthood Sunday (traditionally celebrated in the fall).  This is a time to show appreciation for our priests, pray for them and celebrate priestly vocations.

o   At least once during each year, the parish vocations team can schedule a Holy Hour for Vocations.  Some parishes eventually do it on a weekly or monthly basis.