Sunday, March 31, 2019

Grand Rapids Serra Club Newsletter April 2019

In this month's newsletter you will read about Fr. Dennis Morrow's special time of need for our prayers (and you will note his magnificent work as diocesean historian), and you will find that membership has taken on new urgency.  

Calendar of Events.

April 8, 2019.  Luncheon Meeting and Lenten Prayer Activity, 12:00 Noon at Cathedral Square.    We will see you there!
April 14, 2019.  Palm Sunday.
April 18, 2019.  Thursday of Holy Week.
April 19, 2019.  Good Friday.
April 21, 2019.  Easter Sunday.
April 22, 2019.  Easter Monday and Board Meeting, 12:00 Noon at Cathedral Square.
April 28, 2019.  Divine Mercy Sunday.  Also, Spaghetti Dinner, 11:00-3:00 at Our Lady of Sorrows.
Tickets in advance or at the door.  Call 243-0222 if you would like to order in advance.

Looking Ahead.

May 12, 2019.  World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
June 19-23, 2019.  Serra International's 77th Annual Convention, Mexico City. John (and Ellen) Osterhart, and Dennis (and Margaret) Leiber plan to attend.  Bishop David J. Walkowiak and Msgr. Ed Hankiewicz will attend as well.

Priests' Anniversaries for April.

Fr. Steven Cron, April 1, 1978.
Fr. Peter Damian, April 22, 2005.


Membership is the topic of the year, and we all wish to increase membership throughout 2019.  But we have recently learned of two developments that send us in the wrong direction:  Jenny Hunter has resigned from the club as of this month because she will be moving to Detroit to live with her elderly aunt who does not wish to live alone any more.  She also plans to spend her winters in Alabama
from now on.  She will continue to pray for vocations. In addition, we have learned that Dr. John Stepanivich has been moved to the memory care unit at the Clark Home.  Let us keep him in our prayers.

About the Convention.  

Serra International has sent the 2019 Convention Delegate Credential form.  Each club may choose one delegate, certified by signatures of the club president and secretary.  At our April meeting we will choose a delegate.  One of the items to be voted on concerns proposed amendments to the Serra International Bylaws.  If you wish to see the proposals, they may be found at
In a nutshell, the proposal is that Serra Councils in less economically developed countries may form non-chartered Serra Clubs.  They shall work to support vocations but not pay dues and shall not be entitled to a vote at the Delegates' Meeting.


You may have noticed that the 2019 CSA (Catholic Services Appeal) fund drive is underway.
The diocese has prepared a reminder that because of our support for the CSA, the Office of Priestly Vocations is able to educate future priests for our diocese.

The Office of Priestly Vocations is committed to creating a culture of vocations in the Diocese of Grand Rapids where bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people pray, think, and act to nurture, encourage and invite vocations to the priesthood.

There are 28 men in formation for the Diocese of Grand Rapids.  The average cost of education and expenses for a seminarian is approximately $39,000 annually. Your gift to CSA enables the Office of Priestly Vocations to promote vocations throughout the diocese, facilitate discernment opportunities, assess and evaluate candidates, and oversee the human, spiritual, academic, and pastoral formation of our seminarians.

The goals of the CSA coincide precisely with our Serra Mission.  Let us do what we can to support this cause.

We are also reminded that for more than 60 years, the Diocese of Grand Rapids has provided a televised liturgy to thousands of people who are homebound, hospitalized, or incarcerated.  The broadcast, which can be found live each Sunday at 10:00 a.m. on Fox 17.  It is made possible through our support of the CSA.

Pray for Father Dennis Morrow.

Please keep him in your prayers as he battles stage 4 lung cancer and prostate cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy and radiation.  We have not mentioned this before because we assumed that you already knew about it from your church bulletins.  The following letter appeared in the March 17 bulletin of Our Lady of Sorrows, but not all bulletins contained the information.  We apologize for not mentioning this matter before.

These are the words from Fr. Dennis Morrow:

And how could I not thank all of you who have been so generous with your prayers and best wishes, your vigils of care at the hospital and the rectory, your patient running errands, your attentiveness to my every need, and your devout understanding of some liturgical schedule modifications these past couple weeks?  The treatment plan for the cancer dictates my being out of circulation for some time.  I have been told by many, "If you think you're fatigued now, just wait until the chemo and radiation start!"  So for now, this is my offering to God and my work for you as a priest, letting my inconveniences and discomfort be a part of my share in "making up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ" (Colossians 1:24).

I've heard many people say, "Were praying for a miracle."  I'm praying that if a miracle will give more glory to God and bring more souls to ponder the power of Christ in their lives, fine.  And if
God has another course of action in mind that will accomplish more, that's fine, too.  I had a nice chat with God and with Bishop Baraga in the wee hours of a morning last week.  Venerable Bishop Frederic Baraga (1797-1868) was the first resident priest right here in our Grand River Valley (1833-35).  Five years ago on Easter Bishop Walkowiak dedicated the great memorial rock and plaque on the site of the first Catholic Church here in what became Grand Rapids.  You can visit it anytime, just west of Front on the north side of Butterworth Street.  Our native son and frequent visitor, Archbishop Charles A. Salatka (1928-2003), was a successor of Bishop Baraga as Bishop of Marquette.  He expressed to me many times now anxious he was to have a miracle that would further Baraga's cause for canonization, which has moved along slowly but surely.

So, I offered my services to God and to Bishop Baraga for God's glory and the good of souls.  I recommend to you the prayer which I received from the Bishop Baraga Association, which they are using to promote the cause and to seek Baraga's intercessory companionship in prayer.  Here it is:
O God, thank you for the life and holiness of your servant, Frederic Baraga.  I pray you will honor him by the title of Saint.  He dedicated himself completely to missionary activity to make you known, loved and served by the people you love.  As a man of peace and love, Baraga brought peace and love wherever he traveled.  Lord, grant me the graces and favors for which I pray (mention your intentions).

Fr. Den

Send cards to Fr. Dennis Morrow, 520 Myrtle St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504.

What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Micah 6:8.

Mary, Mother of Vocations, pray for us!