By John Kenkel, president, Serra Club of Lincoln
The Canonization of Bl. Junípero Serra by Pope Francis Sept. 23 is arguably the most significant event in the history of Serra Clubs worldwide. Serra Clubs, including the Serra Club of Lincoln, claim Father Serra as their patron.
The concept of the Serra club was developed in 1935 in Seattle, when four Catholic friends had an idea - they decided to meet regularly over a meal to discuss how their Christian values could be lived out in their professional lives in the business world. They also decided on an additional focus: the encouraging of vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Today there are more than 1,100 Serra clubs in 46 countries on six continents with a total membership of more than 20,000 people. In our diocese, there are two Serra Clubs, the Serra Club of Lincoln and the Serra Club of North Platte. Serra is formally recognized by the Holy See as the global lay apostolate for the support of religious vocations in the Catholic Church.
The Serra Club of Lincoln was established in our diocese in 1955. Our more than 85 members represent a cross-section of devout Catholic men of all ages and from all walks of life, including retirees.
We meet twice a month over lunch. Our meetings include either a Holy Mass or a special program, such as a speaker. Throughout the year we have the privilege of sponsoring some wonderful events with our priests, seminarians, and religious sisters of our diocese, as well as hosting camps at Camp Kateri for young people.
The primary purpose of our club is to pray for vocations, to assist our seminarians, priests and religious, and to support young persons who are discerning whether they are being called to a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
As a group we have a special respect and admiration for our seminarians and religious. We know in today’s world it can be difficult to hear God’s voice in the noise and distractions surrounding us. We admire the courage, dedication, and willingness of those who answer the Lord’s call to enter the seminary or religious life to discern if this is God’s will for their life.
Father Junípero Serra, now Saint Junípero Serra, is our special intercessor in all that we do and we are so proud that he now has the designation of “saint” before his name.