By Gilbert Ekezie
The District Governor of Serra Club International District 130B, Serran Remigius Nwadike has described the club as one whose members are catholic men and women who vigorously respond to the call to promote and support priestly vocation and the religious life.
He noted that the organization helps priests in their own separate ministry, as part of fostering and affirmation of vocation.
Nwadike who stated this in conference organized by Serra Club International in Lagos, for her forthcoming 8th annual Convention, noted that the club encourages the Seminarians and Alter Servers to join the seminary, thereby fostering vocation.
Nwadike stated that for those who are already there as priests, Serra Club try to make them happy by organising dinner, birthday parties for them and assist them in so any ways because it is not easy for them to leave their parents and come to serve in the church.
‘Witbout the Eucharist, there is no church, and without the priest, there will be no Eucharist. That is to tell you the importance of priests in the lives of Catholics.
“Even when people try to bring them down due to their mistakes as humans, we rally round them.”
He also said that the organization was formed in 1934 in Chicago by some Catholic faithful in honour of a Spanish Franciscan priest, Rev. Fr Serra, popularly called ‘Priest Chicago, who contributed to the visions and Catholic faith, as well as formed a lot of missions and evangelise America.
Nwadike said every year the Serra Club members of Serra Club International,gather catholic faithful for district convention both locally and internationally to discuss vocations
He said part of this year’s convention slated for 1st May, is an inaugural lecture where experienced people have been invited from far and wide to deliver vocation lectures at St. Agnes Catholic Church, Maryland, Lagos. “Theme of the event is Domestication of Matthew 9:37, Echoes of the Church in Nigeria,’ while the topic is; ‘Managing our harvest in the face of vocation in an economic interest and morally deprived Society.’
He said the work of Serra is service based to assist the priests and the religious, pointing out that the topic becomes necessary because in Nigeria, there lots of Rev. Fathers and Rev. Sisters, but if it is juxtaposed in what is obtained in the country, it could be said that Nigerians are morally highly depraved and economically depressed.
Nwadike explained that having the vocation in midst of the morally depraved and economically depressed society, it could not be said that there are still after God’s own heart, as it was in the past.
According to him, keynote speaker at the convention is His Lordship, Bishop Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Enugu State, while Guest Speaker is His Lordship, Bishop Francis Adesina of Ijebu Ode Diocese. “There are panel of discussants who are going to analyze the papers presented and thereafter, entertain uestions. They include: Rev Fr. Innocent Opoga, Parish Priest, Church of Presentation, GRA Ikeja, Rev Fr. John Ganza, a Ghanian Jesuit Priest, Rev. Sis Juliana Okafor, from the Order of Dominicans, Ibadan. It is going to be power packed with intellectualism and lots of information to be acquired.
“As you know, in the Catholic Church, we have the priests and the religious. And, in the religious, we have both males and females. So, in the composition of the panel, we have a Diocesan priest, male and female religious. They comprise all we have in the Catholic Church and each panelist will analyze the topic from the perspective of their own congregation.”
The District Governor also informed that Chairman of the day is Prince Soji Robert Olagunju, CEO of Lumen Kristi TV Network, while the Archbishop emeritus of Ibadan and Episcopal Adviser, Serra Internationl Nigeria, Felix Alaba Job, will be Special Guest of honor.
He explained further pthat as part of the activities lined up for the convention is recognition of some of those who have contributed to the development and promotion of vocations, in and outside Nigeria, among whom is the CEO of Lumen Kristi TV Network, Prince Soji Robert Olagunju and Late Serra A.B.A Obilana who was the first Charter President of Serra Club Intl. Nigeria. “Others to be honoured are Arcbishop Emeritus of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Olubunmi Okogie who brought Serra Club to Nigeria in 1987 and Rev. Fr. Patrick Alumoko, Director of Communication in the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja who has done a lot in propagating the Catholic faith and love among members and the entire society. There is also going to be power point presentation on what Serra Club International is all about.”