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Serra regional convention Oct. 8-10 in Cincinnati

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

By David Eck

ARCHDIOCESE — A local broadcaster and an author will be among the main speakers at the 2010 Serra regional convention to be held Oct. 8-10 at the Netherland Plaza hotel in Cincinnati.

The convention is hosted by the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Serra clubs. Serra is an international organization that fosterss and promotes vocations through prayer, awareness, affirmation and support. There are currenty more than 11,000 Serrans in 300 chapters in the United States.

Serra Club
(Courtesy illustration)

Father Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville, S.C., will be the keynote speaker on the convention’s opening day. Motivational speaker and author Matthew Kelly and Sacred Heart and EWTN radio personality Brian Patrick will also speak during the convention.

Covington Bishop Roger Foys will celebrate the conference’s opening Mass on Oct. 8 at 5 p.m. Archbishop of Cincinnati Dennis M. Schnurr is the scheduled celebrant for the convention’s closing Mass at the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains on Sunday, Oct. 10 at 11 a.m.
In addition to members of Serra clubs from several states, people active in parish vocations committees are expected to attend the event. The region includes Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Tennessee.

“We’re making a real effort to appeal to the parish vocation coordinators,” said Tom Geoppinger, chair of the convention. “Serra Club’s main mission is to promote vocations in the archdiocese.”

The convention is designed to raise awareness of vocations, how they occur and where they start. The event is held every few years in different cities. Cincinnati last hosted the convention about 30 years ago.

In preparing for the event, local Serra groups gathered ideas from people throughout the archdiocese and those who have hosted previous conventions, Geoppinger said. Archbishop Schnurr and Bishop Foys also offered suggestions.

With the theme “Lower Your Nets for a Catch,” the convention will feature several workshops to promote an understanding of vocations and how they are fostered. During a vocations panel discussion two women in formation for religious life and four seminarians from Mount St. Mary’s Seminary will share stories of what brought them to their decision to enter religious life — and how Serra Club members can affect those decision.

The vocations panel provides a unique experience to directly hear from those in religious formation about their vocation and how it was nurtured, said Wayne Topp, associate director of the Cincinnati archdiocesan vocations office.

“What helped them answer that call?” Topp said. “What worked, what doesn’t work, and what we need to do better.”

Other workshops will focus on the best practices of a parish vocations committee, communications, some teachings of Theology of the Body as it relates to religious vocations, and attraction and retention of Serra Club members.

The workshops were designed to further the work of vocations committees. Among the resources available is a list of 10 crucial concepts for committees and how to implement them at the parish level, for example, holy hours and programs on prayer, Topp said.

“One of the biggest things we hope to see happen is connection with the parish vocations committees,” Topp said. “Their role is to build up vocations awareness in the parish. This, we hope, will help them get the tools they need to…do that.”

The biggest things a person can take from the event is an awareness of their own call to holiness and how it affects their ability to promote vocations, and spreading a vocations culture in the parish, Topp said.

Lou Eichhold, a former president of the local Serra Club, said the convention will offer vocations committee members the opportunity to interact and share ideas. The main speakers will provide additional insight.
“We want the audience to come away with from each of these keynotes with something they can us,” Eichhold said. “What I want people to leave this convention with is more energy for the mission and a resolve to keep working to awaken vocations.”

Persons interested in attending may register for the conference online at cincyserravocations.org or call Dottie at 1-800-334-9548. Registration is $249. Price includes Friday dinner, Saturday lunch and dinner and convention materials.

David Eck can be reached at [email protected].

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