Ed Langlois/Catholic SentinelMaria Pimentel, Fr. Ted Prentice, Janice Donahue and Pat Egsieker enjoy talking before the annual Serra Club priest appreciation dinner. Serra members say they want to help the church promote vocations to priesthood and religious life.

Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel
Maria Pimentel, Fr. Ted Prentice, Janice Donahue and Pat Egsieker enjoy talking before the annual Serra Club priest appreciation dinner. Serra members say they want to help the church promote vocations to priesthood and religious life.

A growing group of Northwest lay Catholics wants to encourage vocations to priesthood and religious life.

“What can we help you do to encourage more youth to consider the vocations of priesthood and religious life?” Dan Jones asked a room full of priests, including Archbishop Alexander Sample.

Jones, a member of St. Pius Parish who was chosen as new president of Serra International, had a suggestion for himself and other members of the vocations-promotion club: “Instead of asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, ask them what God wants them to be when they grow up.” 

The event was the annual dinner Serra sponsors to thank priests for ministry. It gives priests a chance to chat and laugh with club members — and with each other.

“This event you do for us each year is so deeply appreciated by all of us,” Archbishop Alexander Sample told club members. “Thank you for the love and the care that you show us and the support you give us.”

The archbishop said Serra is key in building a culture that is friendly to discernment about priesthood and religious life.

Father Jeff Eirvin, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Portland, thanked the club for helping him in his work.

“I couldn’t do it without you,” he said.

That same week, Serra helped sponsor vocations rallies in which 600 sixth graders heard from priests and religious about a happy life of sacred service. A vocations rally for families is in the works.

The dinner was sponsored by Serra Clubs of Portland, Tualatin Valley and Salem.

“We are here to celebrate their priesthood and thank them for serving the people of God,” said Tom Eyer, president of the Tualatin Valley Serra Club. That group is newly formed, as are clubs in Idaho and Washington.  

 

Portland Serra Club meets at noon on the first and third Wednesday of each month at St. Patrick Church, 1623 NW 19th Ave.

The Serra Club of Tualatin Valley meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at St. Anthony Parish in Tigard.

In addition to conducting club business, members seek to build up their own faith with prayer, fellowship and guest speakers.