Serra International is aggregated to the Pontifical Work for Vocations to the Priesthood within the Congegation for the Clergy. Almost 1,100 Serra Clubs have been chartered in 44 Countries since 1935 when Serra began in the United States of America. Serra International was formed three years later as the Apostolate extended beyond America. Membership of Serra is in excess of 15,000. Members, referred to as "Serrans", are Catholic laymen, laywomen and Permanent Deacons. Serra is named after Father ("Fray") Junipero Serra, the noted Spanish Franciscan missionary priest who played a leading part in 18th century missionary work in Mexico and California.
Father Junipero was beatified in 1988 and was canonised in September 2015. His Feast Day is celebrated on 1st July.
Serra International's Constitution and By-Laws provide for a carefully-defined organisational structure. Led by an International Board of Trustees, Serra also draws upon the services of an Episcopal Adviser, volunteer Standing Committees, the Serra International Foundation and the staff of the International Office.
The International Board is drawn from the membership of any Serra Club and thus ensures international representation. The Board of Trustees comprises -
- Four Vice-Presidents
- Immediate Past President
The International Board of Trustees has overall responsibilities -
- for the general control and supervision of Serra International;
- to serve as liaison and consultants to the District Governors where no National Council exists in an area;
- to assist District Governors in whatever way possible;
- to delegate to, and work with, a Deputy Trustee in areas where a Board Member requests, and the International Board appoints, a Deputy Trustee.
The International Board of Trustees comprises -
- eleven Area Trustees
- eight International Officers
- the Immediate Past President
- such additional Trustees, not to exceed three, as from time to time may be determined by the Board of Trustees
The Episcopal Adviser is responsible for -
- leading Serrans in the development of their spiritual lives and vocations;
- counselling and advising the International Board on general policies and on the principles of faith.
The Standing Committees are responsible for the direction of Serra International. The roles of the Committees are to -
- develop and promote activities for the year within their respective areas of responsibility;
- adhere to Serra objectives and International Board policies;
- work in close harmony with National, District and Club Committees.
The Standing Committees cover the areas of -
- Internal Programme
- Constitution and By-Laws
- Finance and Budget
- Long-Range Planning
- International Conventions
Serra International has the services of an Executive Officer who -
- works closely with the International Board of Trustees;
- manages the day to day functioning of the International Office;
- oversees the International Convention, publications and committees.
Serra International Foundation
The Serra International Foundation was formed on 25th October 1951 at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of Serra International. It was incorporated in the State of Illinois, USA as a "not-for-profit" corporation.
The Foundation obtains its funds from Serra Clubs and members, private and corporate sources and from those who wish to advance the objectives of Serra International. The Foundation assists Serra International by -
- providing financial support to Vocation activities approved by Foundation Board and Serra International
- raising, investing and disbursing funds so as to provide the means with which to carry out the objectives of Serra International
To further its objectives and to conduct its business, Serra International holds regular Committee and General Meetings and makes publications available.
The International Convention may be held in any Member Country and is an opportunity for Serrans to:
- share in fellowship and inspiration as well as acquire a clearer vision of the purposes and broad relationships of Serra;
- strengthen their dedication to Serra through the Convention Programme and to contact representatives of Clubs from around the world;
- advance the internationality of Serra;
- stimulate better Club work by establishing common policies, standards and program emphases.
In addition, the International Convention is:
- self-supporting (Convention operating expenses are covered by registration fees);
- held at a time and in a place determined by the International Board of Trustees;
- where the business of Serra International (including approval of the International budget, election of International Officers, amendments to the International Constitution and By-Laws) takes place