Sunday, December 31, 2017

Grand Rapids Serra Club Newsletter, January 2018

Calendar of Events
January 2, 2018.
Full Moon.  Watch for this special full moon, a reminder of the Lord's wonderful creation.
January 7, 2018.  The Epiphany of the Lord.
January 8, 2018.  The Baptism of the Lord.  The end of the Christmas season.
January 8, 2018.  Luncheon Meeting and Speaker, 12:00 Noon at Ss. Peter and Paul.  Billy K. will cater the luncheon.
January 11-14, 2018.  Phoenix Rally.
January 22, 2018.  Board Meeting, 12:00 Noon at Ss. Peter and Paul.  Billy K. will cater the luncheon.  Also,  Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.
June 27-July 1, 2018.  Serra International Convention, Nashville, Tennessee.....
Two confirmed speakers are His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto and
Most Reverend Peter Surtain, Archbishop of Seattle.

Priests' Anniversaries for January.

Father Anthony Aduaka, Chaplain of Spectrum Health, Blodgett and Butterworth Campuses, 2004.
Father Bartholomew Okagbue, Chaplain, Mercy Health Muskegon, 1988.

Looking at year end and new year opportunities to carry out our mission as Christians and Serrans....

Aid to the Church in Need.  This is something we can do on the international level.

"I often cry when I think about how we lived.  I would like to return to the Nineveh Plains because that is our homeland, our homes, our church.  Our faith gives us the strength to keep going."

Rahma Jacon is a young Iraqi girl who has experienced the terror and fear of being driven from her family home by ISIS.  But she still remembers what a joyful life she once had on the Nineveh Plains, and she has hopes that she and her loved ones can experience that again.

With your kind help, it will be possible for Rahma and other displaced Christians to return to their homes, thus ensuring the survival of Christianity in Iraq.  One hundred percent of your donation will go towards the rebuilding and repair of 13,000 homes on the Nineveh Plains, most of which
were destroyed, damaged, and looted under ISIS occupation......

But time is of the essence.  Please let your last donation this year be one that brings stability and peace to families that have endured so much.  Your compassion will allow Christians in Iraq to start the New Year back in their homes, raising their families in dignity and with God's love.

Your last gift of the year will be a new beginning for so many.  May God bless you and your loved ones in the New Year.  And thank you from the bottom of my heart for your kindness to our brothers and sisters in need.

Just search Aid to the Church in Need, or my link to this information came in my e-mail from

Another way to expand our club's influence and support vocations anywhere in the world, from home.  
Ann Maloney, the Serra International Foundation's New Director of Development, writes,
"My husband and I attended out first Serra International Convention in Providence, Rhode Island, in June of 2011.  The first day we arrived, we met a gentleman by the name of Dennis Leiber.  He asked us if we knew about the Serra International Foundation, and we said, "No."  Well, Dennis did such a good job of explaining the Foundation that three years later I found myself on the Serra International Foundation Board.

We Serrans have an avenue to effect real change in the world through contributions to the Serra International Foundation.  It's really quite exciting!  Each year we get many applications from around the globe, asking for help with vocation programs, and our foundation is able to send out money to places in Africa, the Philippines, and Viet Nam, to name a few.  The Foundation supports vocations to the priesthood and religious life by assisting with programs all over the globe...

Since 1951, the Foundation has been used to give you, the Serran, amazing opportunity to empower the world with priests and nuns.  The globe is large, but Serra and its Foundation makes it small.  Tom in Texas can sacrifice a a vacation cruise and the Foundation will send money to a seminary in the Congo that needs its concrete walls reinforced before it completely caves in.  I can send a $25 donation on while I'm waiting in the carpool line at school!

Instead of worrying about where we will get our future priests and nuns, we can effect that change from anywhere on the planet!  I acknowledge that I have the amazing opportunity to help find and form our future seminarians and sisters through the Serra International Foundation...and I'm asking you to please join me.

Ann Maloney, Director of Development
Serra International Foundation

New Year's Resolutions

Dan Jones, President of Serra International suggests that we observe the regular habits of the Rosary. spiritual reading,  and quiet time with the Lord in our 2018 routine.  Among other things, he writes,
...We must not forget our Blessed Mother in prayer, especially the Rosary.  In my youth, I said the Rosary sometimes, and maybe less frequently as an adult.  Then a few years ago, when Sean Yeo was president of Serra International during a challenging time, he asked that Serrans pray 40 days of the Rosary for healing.  Well, since we are all creatures of habit, that habit was reestablished in my life.  So now, rarely a day goes by without this prayer.

Spiritual reading (with of course the Bible or other religious literature) is a must.  Another....suggestion is to read five pages of spiritual reading a day,  an excellent habit; in the course of a year we will have read many books about our faith.  Or, read an entire Gospel in one sitting.

It is said that our quiet time with the Lord is as beneficial as all the books you can read in a year.
So, quiet time with the Lord is a must.  Since we are all sinners, confession or reconciliation should be considered a monthly activity.."

This article just lists a few of the activities that can help us be the best version of ourselves every day....

Source:  The Serran, Vol. 64 No 1.

A Message from our President

Happy New Year, fellow Serrans!  I hope you all had an enjoyable Christmas.  We begin 2018 with our first general meeting January 8 at SS. Peter and Paul.  Hope to see you all there.

As a matter of historical interest, there's an old movie from 1955 called The Seven Cities of Gold, 
which is playing on the movie channels.  The movie includes as one of the main characters our namesake St. Junipero Serra.  It is about soldiers and Father Serra traveling from Mexico City and going to Southern California to establish missions.  I found the movie to be fairly interesting.  You will have to search the TV listings for upcoming showings.

Weldon Schwartz, President
Grand Rapids Serra Club

Mary, Mother of Vocations, Pray for Us!