By KATIE BORKOWSKI
SIOUX CITY/CARROLL – The Diocese of Sioux City is the home of two chapters of the Serra Club.
According to Father Shane Deman, chaplain of the Serra Club of Siouxland and director of vocations, the diocese is “blessed” to have two clubs to foster vocations.
“Both organizations have passionate members who are enthusiastically working to support vocations,” said the priest. “Their primary mission as Serrans is to pray for an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life.”
The Serrans, he added, also help raise awareness for the entire diocese to support vocations through various events and promotions.
“Lastly, they directly support and encourage our priests, religious, seminarians by various forms of outreach throughout the year,” said Father Deman. “I’m grateful for the Serrans’ witness of faith, which never loses hope in the future of the church. Surely the prayers and activities offered on their behalf will bear fruit in the future of this diocese.”
The Serra Club of Siouxland has been in existence for 21 years and was established in October 1996. The club currently has 28 members and 10 benefactors who reside in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
“Our doors are always open to welcome new or past members,” said Betty Pratt, president of Serra Club of Siouxland. “Our mission is to foster and affirm vocations to the priesthood and consecrated religious life, and through this ministry, affirm our Catholic faith.”
Father Deman is the chaplain and advisor for the Siouxland club. Molly Sokolowski is the secretary and Angela LeClair is the treasurer.
Serra Club of Siouxland meets the second Tuesday of every month at Mercy Medical Center. The members begin with a rosary at 5:10 p.m., followed by Mass a meal and brief meeting.
“For those who are able, we also meet on the third Saturday of every month at Trinity Heights chapel at 8 a.m. for an hour of adoration as we thank God for our current seminarians and priests,” said Pratt. “We pray that more will follow God’s calling to a priestly vocation. After adoration, we gather for a brief program and discussion.”
The Serra Club of Siouxland plans activities each year including preparing breakfast and having fellowship with the current seminarians at Christmas time, preparing and attending a summer meal with the seminarians in Spencer along with encouraging and attending the men’s and women’s yearly conferences.
The Serrans also prepare care packages for the seminarians during finals week. The club’s Fall Banquet begins with Mass followed by a dinner with Bishop Nickless, Father Shane and Serra members. When a seminarian is ordained a priest at the Cathedral of the Epiphany, the Serra members help as well as attend.
“Serrans work through the power of prayer in asking God to touch the hearts of our youth and parents to be open to the idea and calling to the priesthood,” said Pratt. “Father Shane is our main person in contacting and encouraging the youth. The Serra Club supports him in any way we can.”
In helping to promote religious vocations, Father Deman believes that Serrans “discover more deeply their own vocation as lay men and women, and in doing so, grow in holiness and in participation in the overall life of the church. Our active Serra Club members truly enjoy their involvement and are eager to share their joy with others.”
With Ministry 2025, the Serrans see and understand the current shortage of priests.
“It has always been God’s desire that we be open to his will for our life,” said Pratt. “This shortage is not a pleasant thing to experience or see the effects of with the changes in Mass schedules or the closing of church buildings. However now more than ever, as adults we need to understand and be willing to talk to our youth about listening to God’s will for them and to do listen for ourself also.”
The Carroll Area Serra Club was established in 2000. This club has 25 members including one priest, two deacons and eight spouse memberships.
The officers are Jane Morlok, president; Ann Phillips, vice-president; Martha Stout, secretary; and Ron Morlok, treasurer. The members gather once a month.
Father Brian Feller is the chaplain of the Carroll Area Serra Club and offers guidance and spiritual support to the Serrans.
“We have a three-fold mission,” said Jane Morlok. “One, to foster and promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Two, to support priests in their sacred ministries, and three, to recognize and respond to God’s call to holiness in our own lives.”
This club supports, sponsors and promotes vocations in the Carroll area. They support the Traveling Chalice Program at Kuemper Catholic School in Carroll and help fund the Kuemper youth minister position.
“We send care packages to our seminarians,” said Jane Morlok. “We send appreciation notes and monetary gifts to all area priests, deacons and sisters. We individually adopt a seminarian and provide prayer and communication support.”
The Serrans pray during eucharistic adoration on Fridays of the school year at Kuemper High School. They help students attend the Steubenville Conference.
“We help fund ‘Come and See’ times for our youth at convents, monasteries,” said Jane Morlok. “We sponsor the daily rosary on the local radio station once a month. We help promote Priesthood Sunday and Vocation Awareness Week.”
The members cultivate vocations through daily prayer and support of seminarians and priests.
Even with Ministry 2025, Jane Morlok said Serra Clubs are as important for the same reason the club has always been important.
“We need to pray for an increase in vocations and to help those around us recognize God’s will and call in all of our lives,” she said. “We need to support the priests we do have in their expansive ministries and increased workloads. We are all called to evangelize and the Serrans especially attempt to do this by supporting the clergy and religious we do have, encouraging new vocations and continuing to learn and grow by listening for and hearing God’s call in our own lives.”