A late night. Again! But this one was worth it! :)
I just returned from dinner and an installation ceremony for the world's newest Serra Club. (no, I did NOT say Sierra Club -- something entirely different!).
The deaneries of St. Marys and Sidney in the Cincinnati Archdiocese have formed the newest Serra Club. I first heard about this in August of 2009, when the beginning meetings started taking place. I missed the initial meeting, then didn't get on the e-mail invitation list for a while, but started going to meetings towards the end of 2009. I wasn't quite sure of all of this at the beginning, but have come to know more about the organization and enjoy it very much. I've met people from all over the place, and even rekindled some friendships!
Serra Clubs are named after Blessed Junipero Serra, who was s Franciscan missionary. Blessed Junipero Serra is well known as the 18th century founder of a string of California missions. Like Father Serra, the Serrans of today put faith into action. Whether through meetings, vocational programs, or personal involvement in school, parish and diocesan activities, Serrans accept the challenge of fostering vocations and encouraging spiritual growth.
It's been an interesting road. We had to get a specific number of people to join (I think it was 25) in order for form our own group. Finally, in August of this year, we made the number. How exciting!
Tonight was full of fun. We started at the Maria Stein Relic Chapel with mass celebrated by Bishop Binzer. A small, intimate mass, but a beautiful mass. Several of the servers have indicated an interest in a vocation, so that was a great addition, too!
The gospel was a beautiful reflection of what we have been sent to do as Serrans. (I really wish I had had a notebook with me -- I had all kinds of thoughts swirling around in my head during mass!) At any rate, here is the text from the Gospel:
 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.  He told them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.  Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.
 "When you enter a house, first say, 'Peace to this house.'  If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you.  Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.  When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you."
Bishop Binzer reflected on a couple of things relative to this reading. One is, why does God ask us to go two by two? Wouldn't it be faster and more efficient to go one by one? But his thought was that God knows we work better in pairs and could do the work of the Lord better in that manner (pretty sure those aren't his exact words, but I'm tired and that's what I can think of right now!). Secondly, he spoke of the harvest. Aren't we all out for the harvest? We want a good harvest, and fruitful, and productive, so not as to waste our time!
I went a little further in my head. To get a fruitful harvest, we must first plant the seed. And then fertilize it, and water it, in order to help it grow. Right? What if we think of that in terms of vocations? We have to plant the seed! We have to! If we don't talk about vocations, and encourage people to consider living a vocation, how can we expect anyone to consider it?
Then, we must fertilize and water it. We have to keep at it. Talk about them. Expose our young people (and others) to those that have answered the call. As Bishop Binzer said tonight, he had a Serran come in and talk to his class about vocations. He graduated in a class of 256. He is the only one who was ordained a priest. Others are involved in their faith -- one is a permanent deacon, one is a principal for a catholic high school. Did that Serran waste their time? Absolutely not! We gained a wonderful priest out of the deal! And now a Bishop! How awesome is that?
After mass, we had dinner (which was fabulous!) and then the official ceremony to deem us a Serra Club. Lots of regional Serra officers were there to share their thoughts and give us tips and pointers.
Bishop Binzer had the keynote speech tonight. He told us his "story" of discernment (which came after a stint as a CPA), about his childhood as one of seven children, and lots of fun little peeks into his life. I love to hear stories like that. We don't get the opportunity to "meet" our bishops often enough, so being given this little glimpse was wonderful!
I had a little chat with him afterwards, and enjoyed speaking with him. He was interested in where I lived, where I grew up, my maiden name, etc. He is such a nice man. I can tell he will do great things for our diocese!
I can't forget to mention that I am a membership person for the Serra Club. Membership is definitely NOT by invitation only. If you think that just maybe you have an hour or two to donate each month, maybe you should think about joining! Give me a call and we can discuss it! If you would like to read about Serra, click here: Serra Club Info. If you are not from our deanery, you can consult the website and it will direct you to the closest club to you!
Lest I not do my job, if you are or have considered a vocation, pray about it! If you're ready to talk to someone about it, there are many options. Your parish priest. The Vocations Director of your diocese (in our diocese that would be Fr. Kyle Schnippel). Me! (I will help you as I can!) Your parents. Many people can help point you in the right direction.
Finally, on a totally unrelated note, I have been driving this week, noting the harvest going on all around us. I kept thinking how much I appreciated living in an area where I can see the harvest. The readings tonight really made me miss my dad, who is missing his first eartly harvest this year (although enjoying the finest harvest there is!). So, in honor of my dad, here's a song for you to listen to tonight. It played at his funeral, and I was surprised at the number of people (including my own parish priest) who mentioned they had never heard it. It's a beautiful song and really exemplifies my dad, in more ways that I can count. Enjoy!
Come With Me Into the Fields song -- just a taste. I can't find the song in it's entirety!
I'm off on an adventure this weekend, so I will catch you sometime after that! Have a great weekend, everyone!