Serra Club of South Palm Beach
The Serra Club is a Catholic organization devoted to promoting vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Our club is part of District 30 which includes clubs in the Archdiocese of Miami and those in the Dioceses of Palm Beach, St. Petersburg and Venice, Florida. Many Ascension parishioners are Serra Club members and they grow through fellowship, education and Christian service. To find out more about the Serra Club of South Palm Beach please visit their website at www.serraspbc.org.
What is Serra?
Serra is voluntary association of some 20,000 Catholic laymen and laywomen. Each Serran is a member of a local Serra Club sanctioned by the Bishop of the diocese in which the Serra Club is located. Serra’s objectives and purposes are:
- to foster and promote vocations to the ministerial priesthood in the Catholic Church as a particular vocation to service and to support priests in their sacred ministry,
- to encourage and affirm vocations to consecrated religious life in the Catholic Church,
- to assist its members to recognize and respond in their own lives to God’s call to holiness in Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
What is the Permanent Diaconate?
The diaconate is one of the three ordained offices in the Roman Catholic Church. The other two offices are those of priest and bishop. While the permanent diaconate was maintained from earliest Apostolic times to the present in the Eastern Churches (Catholic and Orthodox), it gradually disappeared in the Western Church during the first millennium. The transitional diaconate always existed as the preparation for seminarians who would be ordained to priesthood. In 1967, following the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI restored the ancient practice of ordaining to the diaconate men who were not candidates for priestly ordination, hence the title “permanent.”
The ministry of the deacon is described as one of service in three areas: the Word, the Liturgy and Charity. The deacon’s ministry of the Word includes proclaiming the Gospel at the Eucharist, preaching and teaching. His ministry at the Altar includes various parts of the Mass, proper to the deacon. The ministry of Charity involves service to the pooor and marginalized and working with parishioners to help them become more involved in such ministry. Their education and training take place in the seminary for a minimum of three years.
Deacons can administer the sacrament of Baptism and serve as the church’s witness at the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, which the bride and groom administer to each other. Deacons may preside at funerals, the Liturgy of the Hours, various services such as Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, and they may give blessings. They cannot give absolution, anoint the sick or celebrate Mass. In the liturgy, it is proper for the deacon to proclaim the Gospel and distribute Holy Communion. They can also preach the homily.
The vestments most particularly associated with the deacon are the alb, stole and dalmatic. Deacons, like priests and bishops, must wear their albs and stoles; deacons place the stole over their left shoulder and it hangs across to their right side, while priests and bishops wear it around their necks.
Married men may be ordained as permanent deacons; however, marriage after ordination is not permitted. They are verbally addressed as Deacon, not Father, which is reserved for priests. In written correspondence, they are addressed as Rev. Mr. (or Rev. Dr. in the case of Physicians of Ph.D.’s).
Permanent deacons can serve full time in parishes or part time if they have other full time employment. They may act as parish administrators, coordinators of ministries in parishes, and assist in hospitals, prisons, and diocesan positions.
Men interested in applying to study to become permanent deacons in the Diocese of Palm Beach are asked to visit the Diocesan Web Site for additional information or call (561)775-9540.