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NEW Program to Plant Seeds for Vocations via Serra Venturing in Catholic High Schools

Many Catholic priests and men and women religious serving the Church today began their discernment, or found support for their budding vocation interest, during High School and/or in Scouting.

Serrans across the country are invited to be part of a NEW movement to offer Serra awareness and discernment opportunities for youth in Catholic High Schools, through Serra Club chartered Venturing crews.

The Serra Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and their Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting (CCS) formed the first Serra Club chartered Catholic Venturing Crew for students at West Catholic High School

in Grand Rapids, with matching funds provided by a Serra International Foundation grant, for initial start-up costs.

Learn more and get started today….

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Gerald Ford Council Starts a Venturing Program

Serra Club of Grand Rapids Helps Form First Venturing Crew Using the Matching Serra International Foundation Grant

Congratulations are in order for Dennis Leiber, the Serra Club of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting on forming the first Serra Club chartered Catholic Venturing Crew for students at West Catholic High school.

In 2006, the Serra International Foundation provided a $7,000 grant to fund the establishment of Serra Club chartered Venturing Crews or Sea Scouting units in Catholic High Schools.

Each Serra Club which charters a Venturing Crew will receive funding for one half of the expenses. Crew 2207 of West Catholic, chartered by the Serra Club of Grand Rapids, with 30 male and female members ages 15-18, is the first unit launched under the new Serra Club program.

The Serra International Foundation funds are a matching grant administered by the USA Council Vocations Committee to reimburse expenses of establishing a Venturing Crew in a Catholic High School.

The units chartered by Serra Clubs provide programs that combine a vocation discernment focus with the benefits of belonging to a unit of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) within a high school extracurricular group.

The success of the program will be based on offering quality programs that are not available to most Catholic High Schools while reinforcing the values and skills taught there. It further gives a venue to make ethical choices, acquire leadership skills, advance knowledge and skills in the areas of high adventure, sports, arts, hobbies and earn a vocation oriented Catholic Scouting emblem.

For more information related to a Serra Club forming a Venturing Crew in a Catholic high school contact Homer Radford, Coordinator of the Serra Club/Venturing Program 816-356-1760, hradford2@comcast.net or David Gironda, Sr., Associate Coordinator and Field Director, dcgironda@gmail.com

Serra Donates Stations of the Cross for Philmont Scout Ranch Chapel

Ceramic tile Stations of the Cross have been installed at the Catholic Chapel of the Philmont Scout Ranch, Cimarron, New Mexico. The tiles were obtained from Catholic Supply of Saint Louis (catholicsupply.com) item No. 5416, 6-inch square hard-fired ceramic tiles imported from Belgium, then mounted in protective metal frames with captions mounted below. The Stations were donated by the Vocations Committee of the USA Council of Serra International, Serra Venturing in Catholic High Schools Program, during Relationships Week June 21-27, 2009.


It was anticipated that to be installed, the Stations would need the approval of the presiding Chaplain and the Facilities Manager. However, it was considerably more complicated. It was learned that also, as an outdoor facility, the installation would first required the approval of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe Chancellor's office, Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan, the Archdiocesan Scout Chaplain, as well as the 2009 Philmont Camp Chaplain Bishop Gerald A. Gettelfinger, and finally the Philmont Camp Director. After persisting in getting all seven of the approvals, the Stations of the Cross were blessed by Archbishop Sheehan during the NCCS (R) "Scouting in the Catholic Church" class graduation mass on that Friday afternoon. During the following week the Stations were mounted onto the Chapel columns, to be removable for the winter, by Assistant Facilities Manager Juan Romero under the direction of the Chaplain, Fr. Ray Fecteau.

Also provided was a small mailbox for holding the programs, with a sign on front that reads "STATIONS OF THE CROSS Program Cards, Donated by the Serra Venturing in Catholic High Schools Program of Serra International". Serra provided double laminated 2-sided yellow prayer cards for saying the Stations, with cards entitled "STATIONS OF THE CROSS - THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST, Catholic Chapel, Philmont Scout Ranch, New Mexico, Donated by the Serra Venturing Program, Vocations Committee of the USA Council of Serra International (serraus.org), June 2009".

The Stations are available as an additional devotion, to inspire all youth and adults who attend, or are on staff, for the Philmont Training Center as well as the Philmont Scout Ranch trekkers, rangers and visitors. This should enhance their experience of Reverence in "God's Country", as Philmont is known in Scouting.

David Gironda, Sr., Serran, and Field Director of the
Serra Venturing in Catholic High Schools Program

(Photo credits are Chip Travers of the Diocese of Phoenix for the Archbishop's Blessing, Dan Napoliello of the Diocese of Phoenix for Stations close-ups, and Steve Miller of the Notre Dame Prep/Serra Venturing Crew for the youth praying the Stations)


Serra Bishop's Crew Serves at Phoenix Seminarian Picnic

The Serra Club of Phoenix held its annual Seminarian Picnic on Sunday, July 26, 2009, for Seminarians and their families. This event is usually catered at a substantial cost. Several Venturing Crew members had attended the Ordination of three new Priests on June 6, 2009 sitting in the Serra Club of Phoenix section along with the Serrans. Afterwards, the Bishop's Crew # 2009 members were interested in possibly volunteering to do the preparations for cooking and serving the Seminarian Picnic, along with Serra Club members, at only the food cost. Arrangements were coordinated by the incoming Serra Club President, Tom Ehmann (also an Eagle Scout), for the kitchen and banquet room at the Mount Claret Retreat Center in Phoenix, Arizona.

As chartered November 1, 2008, the Bishop's Crew of the Diocese of Phoenix has been involved with its initial formation and training efforts. While its primary charter organization is the Diocese of Phoenix with Bishop Thomas Olmsted as the Executive Officer, the Serra Club of Phoenix is a secondary charter partner, under the new Serra International Venturing Grant program. Notre Dame Preparatory Catholic High School/Serra also has a similar Venturing Crew in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The grant program was initiated to pay for starting new Venturing Crews in Catholic High Schools as an extracurricular activity. However, Bishop Thomas Olmsted and diocesan Scout Chaplain Fr. Dennis O'Rourke came up with the idea to have a diocesan Bishop's Crew, for all High School students that are Catholic, regardless of what school they attend.

The picnic event was attended by nearly 100 persons, including Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, Vocations Director Rev. Paul Sullivan, 5 other Priests, 16 Seminarians and their family members, 4 Poor Clare Sisters and 1 Novitiate, members of the Serra Club of Phoenix, as well as 11 Venturers and 5 adults who served from the Bishop's Crew including Fr. Mariusz Koch, CFR , EWTN Host & Speaker was one of the Priests in attendance (far right in photo)." This blessed vocations event was a great success, where the Venturers were able to mix, meet and talk with the Seminarians and their families, Priests and Nuns. The youth were inspired to gain respect for those who are called to vocations, and seeing the support that Seminarians receive from their family and Serra Club members. Contact the Serra Venturing Program Field Director, David Gironda, Sr. at 602-944-9323 or dcgironda@gmail.com for more information.

by David Gironda, Sr., Vice-President for Vocations of the Serra Club of Phoenix, and Field Director of the Serra Venturing Program. Photo credits should be for Teresa Ornelas, District Governor of Serra District 81.


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