Sunday, September 3, 2017

Grand Rapids Serra Club Newsletter September 2017

Let us pray for those in Texas and Louisiana who are suffering from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, and let us pray for the priests and religious who serve these people.

Calendar of Events

Reminder....Our second Monday and fourth Monday meetings are now at 12:00 Noon at Olive's Restaurant.  We will order from the menu.

September is the Month of Our Lady of Sorrows.  The Catholic Church celebrates the Memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows on September 15th, the day following the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

September 8 and 15, 2017.  The Seven Sorrows of Mary devotions, 7:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Sorrows.  Each evening will include a special Rosary for the Seven Sorrows, a homily by a guest priest, meditations on each of the Seven Sorrows, and Adoration followed by Benediction.
The homilist on September 8 will be Fr. Brian Johnson of St. Alphonsus and on September 15, Msgr.  Ancona.
September 11, 2017.  Luncheon Meeting and Speaker, 12 Noon at Olive's Restaurant.
September 14, 2017.  Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
September 24, 2017.  Serra International Rosary for Vocations, 9:00 a.m.  See the Serra International site for dial-up instructions.
September 25, 2017.  Board Meeting, 12 Noon at Olive's Restaurant.  All are welcome.
September 25-28, 2017.  Fall convocation of priests.  As in the past, our club received a letter from Fr. Ron Hutchinson asking us to consider a donation for the reception of September 17.  At the August board meeting, our club agreed to make this donation, as we have done in the past.  Weldon will invite the Muskegon club to participate.  Our club will set up a tri-fold and prayer booklets to show Serra support of the convocation.
Let us pray for the priests of our diocese.  What would your parishes and our diocese be like without our priests?

Looking Ahead.
October 29, 2017.  Priesthood Sunday.
November 4-11, 2017.  National Vocations Awareness Week.

Priests's Anniversaries in September.

Fr. Loc Trinh, September 19, 1992
Fr. Ron Hutchinson, September 24, 1994

Photos Needed.  

Did you attend Serra's 75th International Convention in Rome in June?  We are looking for high-quality photos from the event (but not from the papal audience itself).
Specifically, we are looking for photos of Serrans around the world and speakers at the various hotel events or related events in and around Rome.
If you can help, please e-mail Serra's Communications Coordinator, Anne McCormack at


We have completed the following slate of nominees for our club's board:

Weldon Schwartz, President
Sara Vander Werff, Past President
Karen Schwartz, Editor
Nancy King, VP Communications,
Pat Leikert, Treasurer,
Dan La Ville, VP Progams,
Larry and Marian Burns, VPs Vocations
Dominic Niewald, VP Membership.  John Osterhart will assist him in his committee.
Nancy Mulvihill, Jim Hunter, John Osterhart, Trustees
Msgr. Edward Haniewwicz, Moderator/Chaplain.

We do not have a candidate for President-elect.  If you are at all able, please consider this position.
Installation of new officers is to be announced.

The Story of A Vocation.

It's an old story, but one that remains fresh and new each time we read it.  Serrans will recall that the first reading for the weekend mass comes from Jeremiah 20:7-9.

You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped; you were too strong for me, and you triumphed.
All the day I am an object of laughter, everyone mocks me.
Whenever I speak, I just cry out; violence and outrage is my message;
the word of the Lord has brought me derision and reproach all the day.
I say to myself, I will not mention him, I will speak his name no more.
But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; 
I grow weary holding it in; I cannot endure it.

Jeremiah's vocation, received when he was first called by God, involves both destruction and rebuilding.  He is an unwilling prophet to unwilling audiences, and here we find him experiencing disillusionment, anger, and self-pity.  He sees himself as persecuted by people who plot against him, and persecuted even more harshly by the God who called him.  As he shouts his lament before God, Jeremiah sees his own life as a living example of the destruction he was called to preach.
Jeremiah cries out that God is responsible for all of his suffering.  God enticed Jeremiah, and Jeremiah allowed himself to be tricked.  Although the purpose of his preaching was to bring people to repentance, it results instead in making Jeremiah an object of his scorn.  As much as he tries to resist continuing his prophecy of judgment against people, priests, and kings, Jeremiah cannot stop!  When he says that he must cry out, he refers simultaneously to the abiding impact of his God-given vocation, the strength of God's word, and the urgency of the message.  The power of God's word overwhelms him; it is like fire burning within him, imprisoned in his very bones...
Source:  Workbook for Lectors, 2017, p. 237.

Father David Bergeron also hears the call...

From The Crux Staff, August 27, 2017.
Father David Bergeron of the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston, was returning from watching the big Mayweather v. McGregor fight and ended up stuck in the storm and sleeping in his truck...
On Sunday morning he woke up ready to do what every priest does that day, which is to say Sunday Mass.  In  his case, his conveyance to get there was a little unusual.  He used a kayak to navigate the city's flooded streets, hoping to find people stranded along the way.  He saw many Hispanics stranded, and was drawn to them, as there are many Hispanics who attend services at his parish.
Father Bergeron of the Catholic Charismatic Center in Houston, in an interview with a local Houston ABC affiliate station, told a reporter, "I'm a French Canadian...this is how the Americas were evangalized, with a canoe."
Technicallly, of course, it wasn't a canoe but a kayak, but for Bergeron, the spirit's the same.
His plan to say Mass was complicated when he found an open liquor store, went in to buy wine for the liturgy, and found that it's illegal to buy alcohol before noon on Sunday...
Afterwards, he said, he didn't have enough time to gather people for Mass before he had to get to the location for his interview, since images of him paddling up and down flooded streets had already made him something of a local insta-celebrity.
He said he was getting texts from parishioners who had seen him on TV, and who told him, "I guess we're alive, and the Lord is alive, and the Lord is always with us as well."
Now, Bergeron said, there's one focus of his prayer above all:  for the strong rains to end.
"There are a few psalms that implore the grace of God and the washing rain, but now we have enough rain, so we just want to repent for whatever it is we need to repent for and go on, he said."

A Message from our President.

This past month, for the first time in years, we tried a new location, Olive's Restaurant in East Grand Rapids, for our monthly meetings, the general membership meeting and the monthly board meeting.
Although the rooms are much smaller, I believe that those who attended did enjoy the new restaurant.  I plan to continue holding both monthly meetings there through the end of this year.
We had a speaker, Dr. Jared Ortiz,  Director of St. Benedict Institute, and a guest, also from the Institute at Hope College,Brian Piesuch.  Dr. Ortiz gave us an update on the college's recent effort to serve the 20 percent or so of their Catholic students.  A Dominican priest has been assigned as a Catholic Chaplain to the college.  Some of the students are expressing an interest in pursuing vocations to the priesthood. We intend to increase our communications to this venture and support them in any way we can. We look forward to finding ways in which we can do that.
Hope to see you at our next general membership meeting on September 11 at Olive's Restaurant.

Weldon Schwartz

Editor's Note:  Attendance at the August meeting in our new location was very good,  One could say that people voted with their feet, and we look forward to future meetings at Olive's.

Mary, Mother of Vocations, Pray for Us.