If someday there is an Interstellar Serra Club, Dan Jones likely will be put in charge.
The retired physical therapist, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Portland, has led the city’s chapter of the Catholic vocations-encouraging group. Then he was elected president of the Serra organization for the United States and Canada. In June, he assumes the presidency of Serra International, with 15,000 members in 41 countries.
“I guess I keep saying yes,” says Jones, 78.
The Serra movement — named after the missionary St. Junipero Serra, who brought Christianity to the west coast — began in Seattle, soon followed by Portland. Members hold meals and socials for priests, religious and seminarians and send notes of encouragement and friendship. The clubs make donations and seek to keep college students in touch with their faith. They hold vocations rallies for grade schoolers.
Jones, who grew up on a dairy farm north of Seattle, will travel to Rome this summer to have authority handed over. After a year as president, he will continue to serve on the international executive committee for a year.
Jones has three goals for the club.
First, while members have been good about supporting those who answer the call, Jones wants a new emphasis on asking young people to consider priesthood and religious life.
“I know God is doing the calling,” Jones says. “But maybe people aren’t listening.”
Second, he wants members to ask fellow parishioners to join the club.
Third, Jones hopes to rekindle a tradition of members developing their personal holiness with frequent Mass, adoration, rosary and Scripture reading.
He joined Serra in 1980 when asked by a member, Ray Pohs.
“I like being around priests and sisters,” Jones says. “And I have always enjoyed learning more about my faith.”
Msgr. Don Buxman, chaplain of the Serra Club for 33 years, calls Jones “a delight” to work with.
“He is level headed — a very fine leader,” Msgr. Buxman says. “He is a unifier. He will do great things.”