The first Serra club was formed in 1935 in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. Today, there are more than 1,084 Serra club have been charter in 44 countries with a total membership of more than 20,000 laymen, laywomen and permanent deacons. Serra international, with headquarters located in Chicago, links Serra clubs around the world.
The founding Serrans chose as the organization’s patron Blessed Junipero Serra, the 18th-century Franciscan missionary to Mexico and California who was so influential in creating missions there.
Serra International is aggregated to The Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations within the Secred Congregation for Catholic Education.
Serra in The Kingdom of Thailand
SERRA was introduced into Thailand in 1980 when Rev. Joseph Clara, chaplain of the Serra club of Hong Kong visited Bangkok and approached Rev. Somsak Thirasak, then Pastor of the Immaculate Conception Church, to form a Serra club in Bangkok. Father Somsak agreed and invited a group of lay men from various parishes to a meeting, thereby forming the first club at the parish of Immaculate Conception Church. The club was formally named the Serra club of Bangkok, with Paul Mary Suvij Suvaruchiporn
Later in 1985, the second club was formed at the parish of St. John’s Church, in Bangkok, a metropolitan area also under the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Bangkok. The Serra club of St. John’s School and parishioners of St. John Church. The current SI President, Chainarong Monthienvichienchai, was the club’s first president.
The third one, Serra club of Chiang Mai, was formed in May 1987 at the parish of Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral in the northern Chiang Mai Diocese. It was Chartered in October 1989 with 22 Chartered members.
The Board of Serra in Thailand then in aimed to set up least a club in each remaining archdiocese/diocese in the country.
After almost 10 year’s worth of effort, his goal has been achieved by the subsequent establishment of eight more clubs in the remaining archdiocese or diocese of Thailand, .namely:
The SERRA Club of Bang-nok-kwaek in ratchaburi diocese was formed at the parish of Nativity of Our Lady Cathedral in Bang-nok-kwaek, Samut Songkram in June 1992 with 22 members
The Serra club of Chanthaburi in Chanthaburi Diocese, was formed at the parish of Our Lady of Immaculate Conception Cathedral in April 1992, was chartered
Serra Clubs in Thailand
Serra clubs in Thailand are well-known to all priests and Religious congregations in the country. Their activities are recognized, support and cooperation are incredibly tremendous from the Bishops, priests, religious and chaplains.
Serra in Thailand was celebrated its 25th anniversary during 63rd SI Convention in Bangkok on 25 June 2005. Like in other parts of the world, we have faced both progrees and drawbacks in the recent years.
The progress lies in the fact that the Serra has been extended to every archdiocese/diocese in Thailand and most new clubs are performing admirably.
The drawbacks is that some senior club are not as active as they were at the beginning of their formation. This can be seen in many phenomena: many older members have faded away and the club meeting attendance is at low percentages, the qualities of the programs are not so well-planned and some old activities are disappearing with hardly any new activities being introduced.
Futhermore, the areas or club membership retention and extension still need to be more actively developed.
What do Serrans do?
To promote vocations, Serrans pray that God grant vocations and help men and women respond to the call. While not a fundraising organization, Serrans make gifts to the archbishop to assist in the education of seminarians, small gifts to priests, sisters, and seminarians as tokens of appreciation. While not a service organization, Serrans help out when they can.
For example, several Serrans assisted with the archdiocesan Quo Vadis Days. Serrans also host events to honor seminarians, priests, and sisters, and to hear speakers on a variety of subjects of interest.