Frequently Asked Questions
- What is Serra International?
Serra International is a non-profit Catholic organization made up of men and women from around the world who pray and work to foster and promote vocations to the ministerial priesthood and consecrated religious life. Members of Serra, or Serrans, belong to Serra Clubs, which have been chartered in 44 different countries since the organization began in 1935. Serra's objectives and purposes are:
- To foster and promote vocations to the ministerial priesthood in the Catholic Church as a particular vocation to service, and to support priests in their sacred ministry;
- To encourage and affirm vocations to consecrated religious life in the Catholic Church; and
- To assist its members to recognize and respond in their own lives to God’s call to holiness in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
- Why the name "Serra?"
Serra International is named after Blessed Junipero Serra, a Spanish Franciscan who established missions in Mexico and the western United States. Learn more about Father Serra.
- How did Serra International begin?
Serra International began in 1935 in Seattle, Washington when four Catholic laymen came together to form what would become the first Serra Club.
- How is Serra International organized?
The basic operating unit of Serra International is the local Serra Club, to which Serrans belong. Serra is set up in a hierarchical structure, with the top level being the Serra International Board of Trustees, which is the body that bears ultimate responsibility for the entire organization. There are ten Serra Councils in the world that report to Serra International. The geographical areas under those councils are further broken up into districts and, in some cases, regions and areas. Each Serra Club is part of one district.
- What do Serra Clubs actually do?
Serra Clubs are the primary presence of Serra International in the local community. Clubs usually meet weekly or biweekly, with meetings typically lasting 75 to 90 minutes. The Club President presides at these meetings, which usually include a meal. The programming of meetings are planned in advance with the cooperation of the various committees of the club. A typical club meeting would include an opening prayer, a meal or refreshments, a Chaplain's message, special announcements, a program presentation followed up with a discussion and prayer. Some meetings involve a full Mass. Serra Clubs work closely with their Bishop and Diocesan Vocation Director to foster and promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
- Who can join Serra International?
Membership is Serra International is open to all practicing Catholic laymen, laywomen and permanent deacons.
- Where can I learn more about Serra International?
You can learn more at the Serra International Web site.
- Where can I find a local Serra Club?
- What is the nature of Serra International's affiliation within the Catholic Church?
In 1951, Pope Pius XII aggregated Serra to the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations as part of the Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education (which was previously called the Sacred Congregation for Seminaries and Universities). Through this aggregation, Serra enjoys a special relationship with the Holy See.