The Serra Club Of Hong Kong
Ten years ago, I wrote the above in an article entitled "Recollections" in the 40th Anniversary Bulletin of The Serra Club Of Hong Kong. This year, in preparation for the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Club, a bulletin will be produced in 2013. The chief editor, Dr. Richard Tan has insisted that I should write again.
In my last article, I quoted a saying "Life begins at 40" and humbly exhor ted fellow Serrans to stand ready to begin a new era with renewed determination to achieve The Club's Objectives and Purposes:
•To foster and promote vocations to the ministerial priesthood in the Catholic Church as a par ticular vocation to ser vice, and to support priests in the sacred ministry;
•To encourage and affirm vocations to consecrated religious life in the Catholic Church; and
•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.
Time flies, a decade has come and gone! Perhaps it is time we review what the Club has done and its individual members had fared so far in this new "era".
With no intentions whatsoever of usurping the regular repor ts by the Club's presidents in the interim, what follows here are but my own few observations.
On the whole, the Club functioned well, and the general meetings were quite adequately attended, guests speakers ranged from the religious, professionals, academics and government officers to business executives.
Programmes and activities continued to be targeted for youths in the parishes and schools. Altar boys and seminarians were of particular concern; meetings and discussions on specific issues of the church were occasionally arranged with them as long as their work and study schedules permitted. Individual visits to elderly priests and nuns were organized at mutually convenient times. Family-like social functions such as "Mothers Day" were arranged for the religious and members' spouses. The annual official luncheons with the Bishop and his Curia , when the Board of the Macau Serra Club were also invited, were an full-house events without fail.
Spiritually, annual retreats, individuals' mass chain on a monthly bases, daily vocation prayers, ad hoc small pilgrimage group visits to local churches and those in Macau, Guangzhou and Shanghai all helped to maintain and strengthen Serrans' faith and fellowship.
But I regret to say that, despite perennial efforts towards increasing club membership, the total number of active members for a long time stayed below 40. Open forum discussions on different forms of membership drives were indecisive.
I am afraid The Club is facing an alarmingly fast ageing process!
Many a time, member s boast of the fellowship that they enjoy within Serra, but we know too well there is no "instant" fellowship. We need time, involvement and concern to build it up. Over the years, there have been many "one-off" visitors and not enough follow-up persuasion for a "secondtimer"! A couple of years ago, the world news announced the election of Thomas A. Wong, a fellow Serran of The Serra Club Of Hong Kong, as the next president of Serra International. This exciting news added much publicity to the Serra Club within the Hong Kong Diocese. It came as a surprise to many but not to Thomas and several Hong Kong Serrans. We knew all along that Thomas had aspired to this position after he became president of The Serra Club of Hong Kong in 2001. He had wor ked hard toward this goal. We thanked the Lord for this graceful outcome as we believed Thomas, a determined and dedicated Serran would be right for the job.
Congratulations, Thomas, we are proud of you!
I hope Richard will agree with me that there is no better place than in this 50th Anniver sary bulletin to carry an acknowledgement of all Hong Kong Serrans gratitude in this regard.
By now, Thomas would have successfully completed his presidency of Serra International and related wor k. Having visited no less than 26 countries during his term of office, he should have established an effective contact network of Serra clubs (Past, Present and Future) in the world. This should be invaluable in future Serra movement. It appears that there is now a new avenue for Serrans to "Always go forward and never turn back", and that is by all individual clubs going "regional" or even "global" and proper integration of their major projects to economize on time and human resources. The Serra Club Of Hong Kong is already reaching out to the world.
There is no "turning back" for a Serran like myself who has had such an endearing association with the Club for 52 years. I dare to volunteer to write again for the 60th Anniversary Bulletin when the time comes. Long live and God bless the Serra Club of Hong Kong.
Patrick P. Sham
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