The Serra Club of Midway St. Paul marked its 50th anniversary Dec. 3 with a celebration at the Town and Country Club in St. Paul.
The 60-member group, one of two local chapters of Serra International in St. Paul, received its charter from the USA Council on Sept. 13, 1962.
The group’s mission is to foster and affirm vocations to the priesthood and vowed religious life.
Club member Gary Davis, who also serves as the director of USA Region 8, which includes Minnesota, presented the chapter with a certificate commemorating the anniversary during the celebration.
The club has a monthly Mass followed by a meeting at the Lexington restaurant on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Each meeting features a guest speaker.
“My wife Lolly and I love being involved with promoting and encouraging vocations, not only to the priesthood, but religious sisters and brothers as well,” said Norb Santoski, the club’s vice president for communications. “I’m most proud of our organization’s involvement with the two local seminaries,” he said.
Members support St. Paul Seminary and St. John Vianney College Seminary in a number of ways. They attend occasional Masses followed by social time with seminarians, take seminarians out for meals and host two steak fries each year, one in the fall for students at St. Paul Seminary and one in the spring for transitional deacons. Members are also welcome to attend morning Masses at both seminaries.
College Connection for Catholics, a program that aims to help young adults keep their faith alive by connecting them to campus ministries when they go off to college, is a national initiative that local Serrans support.
“I so admire the generosity of all the Serrans in support of our local seminarians, priests and bishops,” wrote Father Michael Becker, rector of St. John Vianney Seminary and the club’s chaplain, in a short history of the group published for the celebration.
The anniversary celebration — attended by Archbishop John Nienstedt and Bishop Lee Piché — included a Christmas carol sing-a-long, lunch and a vocations talk by first-year seminarian Matthew Goldammer. About 135 people attended the celebration, including club members, invited priests and religious, and guests.
“Our past chaplain, Father Bill Baer, entertained the crowd with many colorful stories,” Santoski said.
Serra International is formally recognized by the Holy See as the global lay apostolate for vocations in the Catholic Church.