A benefit reception and dinner sponsored by the four Serra Clubs in the Philadelphia area to fund programs promoting vocations to the priesthood will be held at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, on Oct. 23 beginning at 6 p.m.

The sole purpose of Serra is the promotion of religious vocations, and the participating clubs, which are part of Serra’s District 28, are Philadelphia Serra Club, Del-Chester Serra Club, Central Delaware County Serra Club and Northeast Philadelphia Serra Club, according to Royal Brown, the president of the Serra Club of Philadelphia.

Proceeds from the event are earmarked for an event similar to the successful Quo Vadis Retreat Program which this year saw 101 teens aged 13-18 attending a summer three-day camp for fun and discernment at the Black Rock Retreat Center in Quarryville, Lancaster County.

The new program will be geared to a slightly older group, according to Brown and Father Stephen DeLacy, the director of the archdiocesan Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood.

“It will basically be a program for college guys and guys up until about age 25,” Father DeLacy said. “We haven’t got a name for it yet but it will grow deeper than Quo Vadis.”

As proposed, it will be held in May, probably over four days during the week after college course work is done but before students take up summer employment. The plan is to hold it at the Black Rock Retreat Center and in addition to recreational opportunities there will be study of a spiritual classic.
“This year it will be the ‘Introduction to the Devout Life’ by St. Francis de Sales, and next year it may the ‘Confessions of St. Augustine,’” Father DeLacy said.

A distinction between this new program and Quo Vadis is that in Quo Vadis the teens are introduced to the possibility of a vocation to the priesthood, while the new program will target young men who may be discerning a vocation to the priesthood, plus those simply open to the idea of a religious vocation.

Most of the funding for this year’s Quo Vadis program was covered by a grant from the Archdiocesan Education Fund with a small remainder paid by the boys who attended. For this new program, it is Father DeLacy’s goal that sufficient money will be raised to fully fund it because, he believes, college students mostly have less money than high school students who are still living at home.

At the St. Charles Seminary event, Father DeLacy will show a short video that was produced for Quo Vadis. Also featured at the event will be John Liston, the executive secretary of Chicago-based Serra International, who will speak on Serra.

Fran Dunphy, Temple University’s popular basketball coach, will speak on the importance of vocations to the priesthood.

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For more information on the Serra Club Benefit Reception and Dinner, which is open to all, call the Vocation Office for Diocesan Priesthood at 610-667-5778.