Serra clubs to host annual conference

May 24, 2011

HOUSTON — For those interested in pursuing a vocation in the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, the local Serra clubs are sometimes a first point of contact. The annual conference is in June and is for members, family and friends and those interested in becoming a Serran or pursuing a vocation in the Catholic Church. The clubs are chapters of Serra International, a global organization of lay Catholics, whose goal is to bring young people to the priesthood and vowed religious life and to strengthen faith. 

Named after the Blessed Junipero Serra (1713-1784), the Apostle of California, who established a chain of missions and baptized more than 6,000 indigenous people, Serra International has more than 19,000 members worldwide. There are eight clubs in the Archdiocese, including Serra Club of Houston.

Recently, the president of the Serra Club of Houston, Larry Massey, chatted with the Texas Catholic Herald about the upcoming event, which is sponsored by the University of St. Thomas.

Texas Catholic Herald: What is the purpose of the conference?
Larry Massey: We want people to come and learn about what's going on in the [Archdiocese], as far as vocations and to find out how to get involved. We also want to promote the Serra Club.

 Why do you want to promote the Serra Club?
Massey: The Serra Club is one of those best kept secrets. My mission is to raise awareness of this great group and reach a broader audience. Basically, we want to recruit more members and make our club younger and more active.

 What does the Serra Club do?
Massey: We are here to help [Cardinal Daniel DiNardo] and to build a culture that strengthens religious life. We want to increase the number of priests and sisters to our Church. There is a huge need for priests, especially here in Houston, where the number of Catholics are growing. We need to ask young men to think about the priesthood. We need to ask fellow Catholics to become Serrans.

TCH: What have you been doing to attract young people to serve the Church?
Massey: We support the Vocations Office. We provide infrastructure, prayer and funding. For instance, we have been working hard with parishes to help them start vocations' committees. We provide training sessions to help them organize. We discovered a program ‘Call by Name,' and we'd like to get that in every parish. It's going slower than we would like, but we're working on it.

TCH: What are you doing to attract more members?
Massey: We've been working hard to get the word out [on] this conference and on recruitment. We moved our meetings to the University of St. Thomas and have connected with a group called FOCUS and worked with the campus ministry and the priests. The move has been a huge success in terms of the facility, the administration's support and the networking opportunities.

TCH: How did you get involved with the Serra Club?
Massey: I was at a papal audience in October of 2006. Right before the pope came out, they introduced Serra Club members. I asked myself, ‘Who are those guys?' When I got back I asked three of my friends about the Serra Club and it turns out they were members. It was about a month after that when I joined. 

 When did you become president?
Massey: June 2010.

TCH: What has the Serra Club meant to you personally?
Massey: I've loved it from the day I joined. It's given me a greater appreciation of the Church, the Mass and the Holy Spirit in action. †

Serran's Life Awareness retreat, July 29-31

HOUSTON — The 33rd Life Awareness program, conceived and sponsored by the Serra Club of Northwest Houston, will again be presented in concert with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Vocations Office, Holy Name Retreat Center, and the other seven District 10 Serra Clubs in the Archdiocese, July 29 to 31, at the Passionist Order's Holy Name Retreat Center, 430 Bunker Hill Road, Houston. 
The event is for those discerning a commitment to a future serving God as a Catholic priest, sister or brother. Attendees can participate in spiritual programs and activities, including socials, vocation and discernment talks, an Emmaus Walk during which an attendee shares one-on-one with a religious, discussion groups, panels, prayer and Mass on Sunday. It offers a chance to learn, ask, listen, think and gain. 
There is no charge to the attendees for the weekend and attendees are not asked to make any kind of future commitment. For more information, contact Jim Kelly, V.P. Vocations, Serra Club of Northwest Houston at 713-681-6360 or


On June 17, Father Brett A. Brannen, author of "To Save A Thousand Souls," will give a lecture titled "To Set the World on Fire" at 7:30 p.m. in Jones Hall, University of St. Thomas, 3800 Montrose. The free event is open to the public. Students and parents are encouraged to attend. All attendees will receive a copy of Brannen's book. On June 18, Daniel Cardinal DiNardo will conduct a Mass at 5 p.m. for Serra Club district club members, family and friends and those interested in vocations. The Mass is at the Co-Cathedral of the Sacred Heart, 1111 St. Joseph Pkwy. and is followed by dinner. The dinner is $35 per person. RSVP to