Sunday, December 2, 2018

Grand Rapids Serra Club Newsletter, December 2018

December Dates To Remember and
Calendar of Events

The main date for our club during December is the Christmas Dinner on December 10, 2018 at the University Club.  Social Time begins at 5:30 p.m.  Dinner will be served at 6:00.  Please help Weldon keep track of numbers.  If you have not already reported to him, please do so ASAP.  Call him at 401-0227.  In accordance with our commitment to increase membership during 2019, please invite prospective guests who you think would be good Serrans, committed to pray for, foster, and promote priestly and religious vocations.  Thank you, Weldon, for your work in getting this event organized.

Other December Dates.

December 6, 2018.  Feast of St. Nicholas.
December 8, 2018.  Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
December 25, 2018.  The Nativity of the Lord.  Holy Day of Obligation.
December 30, 2018.  Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Celebrate Advent With Serra.

Serra International President John Liston invites you to sign up for Serra's daily Advent Reflections at

Dear Serrans:

Joyful Advent greetings to Serrans one and all.

As in previous years, we are happy to present to you our Advent calendar.  This year, in the spirit of anticipation and delight, we would like to offer the calendar via e-mail.

25 Days of Serra Treasure:  What is Serra Treasure?  These are tips, resources, historical facts and other goodies you may not already know about.  They can be used to strengthen your club and give you greater resolve to fulfill our vocational mission.

In addition to Serra Treasures of the day, we will offer you a different prayer for vocations daily.  That's 25 chances to add another vocation prayer to your collection.

If you would like to receive the daily message, send John an e-mail.  Thank you, John, for all you do for Serra.

Upcoming Dates in January.  

January 8, 2019.  Membership Conference Call, 7:20-8:20 p.m.   Dial in with 641-715-0700.  Access code 936393.
January 10, 2019.  Alternative Date.  Same time, same place.
January 14, 2019.  Luncheon Meeting and Speaker, 12:00 Noon at Cathedral Square.  Speaker will be Fr. Michael Hennessey, Assistant Pastor of the Cathedral of St. Andrew.
January 17-20, 2019.  Serra Rally, Ventura, California, followed by the Serra Mission bus tour led by Father Jim Heyd.

Priests' Anniversaries for December.

Reverend Charles Dautremont, December 18, 1960.
Reverend Norbert Leyrita, December 21, 1963.
Msgr. John F. Porter, December 15, 1953.
Reverend Julian Reginato, December 19, 1964.

Who is Father Jim Heyd?

Ordained a priest in 1989, Fr. James F. Heyd is a member of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  He considers the presence of Serra International in Chicago to be a blessing.  As a 1985 graduate of Notre Dame with a major in history,  he is well prepared to appreciate the life, legacy, and meaning of the newly-canonized Fray Junipero Serra and the California missions.  Fr. Jim played a role in the Tricentenary of the birth of Fray Serra (1713-2013). and has participated in Serra Conventions over the last decade.  Fr. Jim has traveled throughout Mallorca, Mexico, and California to learn and understand Fray Junipero Serra.  Fr. Jim sees him as one of the pivotal mission disciples of the evangelization of the Americas, a staunch defender of human dignity, and a learned and saintly man.  At present, Fr. Jim is studying the role of pilgrimage in the spiritual and cultural development of Western Civilization.  Let us pray for our Grand Rapids pilgrims Weldon and Karen Schwartz and John and Ellen Osterhart as they participate in this 2019 pilgrimage.

Who is St. Nicholas, Santa Claus and Father Christmas?

St. Nicholas was a Bishop who lived in the fourth century in a place called Myra in Asia Minor, now called Turkey.  He was a very rich man because his parents died when he was young and left him with a lot of money.  He was also a very kind man and had a reputation for helping the poor and giving secret gifts to people in need.  There are several legends about St. Nicholas, although we don't know if any of them are true!

The most famous story about St. Nicholas tells how the custom of hanging up stockings to put up presents first started.  It goes like this:

There was a poor man who had three daughters.  The man was so poor that he did not have the money for a dowry, so his daughters couldn't get married.  One night, Nicholas secretly dropped a bag of gold down the chimney and into the house.  (This meant that the oldest daughter could get married.  The bag fell into a stocking that had been hung by the fire to dry.  This was repeated later with the second daughter.  Finally, determined to discover the person who had given him the money, the father secretly hid by the fire every evening until he caught Nicholas dropping in a bag of gold.  Nicholas begged the man not to tell anyone what he had done, because he did not want to bring attention to himself.  But soon the news got out, and when anyone received a secret gift, it was thought that maybe it was from St. Nicholas.

Because of his kindness, Nicholas was made a Saint.  St. Nicholas is not only the patron saint of children but also of sailors.  One story tells of him helping some sailors that were caught in a dreadful storm off the coast of Turkey.  The storm was raging around them and all the men were terrified that their ship would sink beneath the great waves.  They prayed to St. Nicholas to help them.  Suddenly, he was standing on the deck before them.  He ordered the sea to be calm, the storm died away, and they were able to sail their ship safely to port.

St. Nicholas was exiled from Myra and later put in prison during persecution by the Emperor Diocletian.  No one really knows when he died, but it was on the 6th of December in either 345 or 352.  In 1087, his bones were stolen from Turkey by some Italian merchant sailors.  The bones are now kept in the church named after him in the Italian port of Bari.  On St. Nicholas feast day (6th of December) the sailors of Bari still carry his statue from the Cathedral out to the sea, so that he can bless the waters and so give them safe voyages throughout the year.

In 1066, before he set sail to England, William the Conqueror prayed to St. Nicholas asking that his conquest would go well.

Priests and Seminarians Need Our Special Prayers.  

In these times, please pray in a special way for our priests and seminarians.  See Fr. Ron's column in the December edition of Faith Magazine.


Adoration 24-7 is available at St. Isidor's, Code 513, and at IHM 24-5, Code 5412.

Do you feel called to Serve?

Weldon Schwartz is asking for a replacement for him as our President.  Also, we have various officers' positions available.

Isaiah's Prophecy for Our Lord and Savior:

But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.  
The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:
A spirit of wisdom and understanding,
A spirit of counsel and strength,
A spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord,
and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.

We wish all of you a Blessed Christmas Season.  
Let us celebrate with one another at the Christmas Dinner at the University Club on December 10.
Invite guests to this event if you can.