Serra's 76th International Convention held in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, was sold out long before its June 27, 2018 start date -- a signal of the event's certain success. Thanks to meticulous and innovative planning by Convention Chairman Robert Rudman (Serra Club of Williamson County, Tennessee) and his enthusiastic, capable team, the convention was a triumph not only for the host clubs, but also for the whole Serra organization. The convention theme was "A Salute to Serra Club Chaplains," a tribute to the priests who serve Serra clubs directly all around the world. (Click here to download a copy of the convention program, shown at right.)
A particularly happy highlight was the presence of His Eminence Thomas Cardinal Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, who recently accepted the position as Serra International's Episcopal Adviser. Cardinal Collins' stellar homily at Mass on Friday, June 29, impressed Serrans deeply and created in them eager anticipation for more interaction with their new spiritual leader.
Alongside Cardinal Collins, several noted clergy were attendance, including His Excellency, Most Rev. James Peter Sartain, Archbishop of Seattle; His Excellency, Most Rev. Alexander King Sample, Archbishop of Portland in Oregon; His Excellency Most Rev. Emilio Carlos Berlie Belaunzaran, Archbishop of Yucatan, Mexico; and of course, His Excellency Most Rev. J. Mark Spalding, D.D., J.C.L., Bishop of Nashville, who welcomed all to the host diocese and city. In addition, many club chaplains attended, many of whom were featured on the convention program cover.
Taking the reins from immediate Past Serra International President Dan Jones (Serra Club of Portland, Oregon, USA) is President Mario Biscardi (Serra Club of Toronto Central, Ontario, Canada). President Biscardi's focus this year is on growing and renewing membership worldwide.
The Nashville Convention Committee skillfully wove deligthful socials (complete with filling meals and beverages) along with opportunities to attend first-class musical performances into the convention with an eye toward delivering the true spirit of Music City, U.S.A. At the reception sponsored by the Serra International Foundation, where the top contributing clubs were honored, local singer-songwriter Doug Blake serenaded a packed room with country tunes.
At the final banquet, DuPage County, Illinois, U.S.A. Serran Graham Crawford was honored for his decades of service to Serra during a telephone call from Convention Chair Rudman (with over 400 Serrans and clergy listening in). On the call, Cardinal Collins congratulated Mr. Crawford, and Mr. Rudman read the inscription on a specially made certificate which was presented to Mr. Crawford later. All in attendance closed the call with a rousing round of applause.
After a long weekend of fellowship, fun, information, inspiration, and spiritual rejuvenation, hundreds of Serrans returned home with renewed vigor for their special vocations mission. Next year's convention will be in Mexico City, June 19-23, 2019.
Please enjoy some sights and sounds of the convention at the links below. All photos this page courtesy of Fr. Toby Collins, C.R.
Thursday, June 28, 2018
Friday, June 29, 2018
Saturday, June 30, 2018