2/20/2013 9:34:00 AM Clergy have a night to just relax
Catholic Sentinel photo by Ed Langlois
The Serra Club treated 70 priests, deacons and deacon wives to a dinner Feb. 10.
It's not often that bishops, diocesan priests, priests from religious orders and permanent deacons and their wives can gather just for laughs. But that's just what the Serra Club of Portland carries off each year with its clergy appreciation dinner.
About 70 priests, deacons and deacon wives convened Feb. 10 at the Double Tree Lloyd Center Hotel for a few drinks, a free dinner and no particular demands.
"People forget that we [clergy] don't get to see each other a lot," said Jesuit Father Paul Grubb, a high school teacher chatting with Father Jim Coleman, administrator of St. John Parish in Yamhill and a former missionary to South America. The two bearded men had just met and were sharing experiences.
"It's an important opportunity to get together," said Deacon Brian Diehm, who serves at St. Thomas More Parish and in the Archdiocese of Portland deacon program. The Serra Club, laity who foster and support vocations to priesthood and religious life, opened its Portland chapter in 1937. It now counts 100 members. There are smaller clubs in Salem and Bend.
The club noted that it would be the last dinner for Archbishop John G. Vlazny as head of the archdiocese. He thanked the Serrans for their ministry, giving them some credit for the 41 seminarians studying for the archdiocese and the 26 men who attended the archbishop's recent vocations retreat.
"The future looks pretty bright," the archbishop said. "Your prayer and active support is something that really gets through to the people."