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4/16/2017 7:48:00 PM
WATCH: Vocations club to priests: How can we help?
Ed Langlois/Catholic SentinelMaria Pimentel, Fr. Ted Prentice, Janice Donahue and Pat Egsieker enjoy talking before the annual Serra Club priest appreciation dinner. Serra members say they want to help the church promote vocations to priesthood and religious life.

Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel
Maria Pimentel, Fr. Ted Prentice, Janice Donahue and Pat Egsieker enjoy talking before the annual Serra Club priest appreciation dinner. Serra members say they want to help the church promote vocations to priesthood and religious life.

Dan Jones of St. Pius X Parish is new leader of Serra International.
Dan Jones of St. Pius X Parish is new leader of Serra International.
Local man to lead international vocations club

If someday there is an Interstellar Serra Club, Dan Jones likely will be put in charge.

The retired physical therapist, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Portland, has led the city’s chapter of the Catholic vocations-encouraging group. Then he was elected president of the Serra organization for the United States and Canada. In June, he assumes the presidency of Serra International, with 15,000 members in 41 countries.

“I guess I keep saying yes,” says Jones, 78.

The Serra movement — named after the missionary St. Junipero Serra, who brought Christianity to the west coast — began in Seattle, soon followed by Portland. Members hold meals and socials for priests, religious and seminarians and send notes of encouragement and friendship. The clubs make donations and seek to keep college students in touch with their faith. They hold vocations rallies for grade schoolers.

Jones, who grew up on a dairy farm north of Seattle, will travel to Rome this summer to have authority handed over. After a year as president, he will continue to serve on the international executive committee for a year.

Jones has three goals for the club.

First, while members have been good about supporting those who answer the call, Jones wants a new emphasis on asking young people to consider priesthood and religious life.

“I know God is doing the calling,” Jones says. “But maybe people aren’t listening.”

Second, he wants members to ask fellow parishioners to join the club.

Third, Jones hopes to rekindle a tradition of members developing their personal holiness with frequent Mass, adoration, rosary and Scripture reading. 

He joined Serra in 1980 when asked by a member, Ray Pohs. 

“I like being around priests and sisters,” Jones says. “And I have always enjoyed learning more about my faith.”

Msgr. Don Buxman, chaplain of the Serra Club for 33 years, calls Jones “a delight” to work with.

“He is level headed — a very fine leader,” Msgr. Buxman says. “He is a unifier. He will do great things.”

Ed Langlois
Of the Catholic Sentinel

A growing group of Northwest lay Catholics wants to encourage vocations to priesthood and religious life.

“What can we help you do to encourage more youth to consider the vocations of priesthood and religious life?” Dan Jones asked a room full of priests, including Archbishop Alexander Sample.

Jones, a member of St. Pius Parish who was chosen as new president of Serra International, had a suggestion for himself and other members of the vocations-promotion club: “Instead of asking kids what they want to be when they grow up, ask them what God wants them to be when they grow up.” 

The event was the annual dinner Serra sponsors to thank priests for ministry. It gives priests a chance to chat and laugh with club members — and with each other.

“This event you do for us each year is so deeply appreciated by all of us,” Archbishop Alexander Sample told club members. “Thank you for the love and the care that you show us and the support you give us.”

The archbishop said Serra is key in building a culture that is friendly to discernment about priesthood and religious life.

Father Jeff Eirvin, vocations director for the Archdiocese of Portland, thanked the club for helping him in his work.

“I couldn’t do it without you,” he said.

That same week, Serra helped sponsor vocations rallies in which 600 sixth graders heard from priests and religious about a happy life of sacred service. A vocations rally for families is in the works.

The dinner was sponsored by Serra Clubs of Portland, Tualatin Valley and Salem.

“We are here to celebrate their priesthood and thank them for serving the people of God,” said Tom Eyer, president of the Tualatin Valley Serra Club. That group is newly formed, as are clubs in Idaho and Washington.  


Portland Serra Club meets at noon on the first and third Wednesday of each month at St. Patrick Church, 1623 NW 19th Ave.

The Serra Club of Tualatin Valley meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at St. Anthony Parish in Tigard.

In addition to conducting club business, members seek to build up their own faith with prayer, fellowship and guest speakers.  




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