All Catholics are encouraged to pray for vocations so that we have the men and women necessary to minister to the current generation of Catholics, and to pass the faith intact onto future generations.
Members of the Serra Club of Erie embrace the opportunity to pray for vocations as an activity that is central to their membership. Every member promises to go to one extra Mass each month and pray for an increase of vocations. In addition to that, each member is given a seminarian and/or a man or woman in the process of discerning a vocation to the consecrated life to pray for, on a daily basis.
Members pray continuously for the Holy Spirit to help their prayer partners discern whether or not the clerical or religious life is right for them. Serrans are given contact information for their prayer partners for the purpose of letting them know that they are being prayed for as they discern, and to encourage them in their quest.
The Serra Club also hosts events during the year in which members are able to interact with seminarians studying at St. Mark Seminary in Erie.
Either through correspondence or by attending these events, Serrans can develop a personal relationship with their prayer partner and both parties benefit from it.
Dave Wayman, an eleven-year member of the Serra Club of Erie, was assigned Chris Wheeler as a prayer partner two years ago. Chris is now Reverend Christopher Wheeler, having been ordained this past May at St. Patrick Church in Erie.
“Chris, I mean Father Chris, and I started corresponding when he became my prayer partner. We had a lot in common. Both of us grew up on a farm and both of us drive pickup trucks,” said Wayman. “I like and admire Father Chris as a man and it has been the ‘icing on the cake’ of my membership in the Serra Club to watch him be ordained and attend his first Mass.”
“I know that having several Serrans praying for me daily, especially Dave, did have an effect on my discernment,” said Father Wheeler. “Sometimes it was a lonely process trying to discern God’s will for my life, but knowing that there were good people who cared and were praying for me, helped. I could feel it.”
Dave Wayman will be assigned a new prayer partner this fall, but hopes to continue to correspond with Father Chris from time to time. Father Wheeler is assigned to help at five parishes near Coudersport in the eastern part of the diocese.
The Serra Club of Erie is the local chapter of Serra USA. There are more than 500 Serra Club chapters in the United States alone, as well as chapters in 46 countries internationally. The club exists as a way for Catholic laypersons to encourage vocations to the priesthood and religious life within their dioceses. Member chapters also work to affirm clergy and religious and to let them know how much their service is appreciated by the Catholic community.
Vocations are needed. If you have an interest in learning how you can help, please visit the club’s web site www.serraerie.org , or contact Vice-President of Membership, Dennis Deiner, at 814-746-0147.