SERRA INTERNATIONAL HAD its beginnings in 1934 in Seattle, Washington when four Catholic friends recognised the need for an association that would advance the cause of Catholicism through lasting friendships among Catholics and continuing education in their Catholic faith.The four Catholics invited other friends to join them and within months they had added an additional focus to their fledgling organisation – the encouraging of vocations to the priesthood and religious life. This led to the formation of the first Serra Club, in Seattle, on Feb 27, 1935.
The founders searched for a name for the new club and chose Padre Junipero Serra, the noted Spanish Franciscan missionary in the Western United States, as patron. Father Serra is often referred to as the "Apostle of California" as he founded many celebrated missions there.
During the first four years, new Serra Clubs were formed in Spokane, Portland, Tacoma and San Francisco. This growth created a need for unified direction and programme coordination and in July 1938, the five clubs formed Serra International, adopting as their common goals the original aims of the founders of the first Serra Club.
In 1951, Serra International became affiliated to the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education and the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations.The Holy See affirms Serra’s role as a worldwide lay organisation committed to vocation ministry.
Serra Clubs are the basic units of Serra International as they are the primary presence of Serra International in the local community.
There are Serra Clubs in many countries including U.S.A., Australia and New Zealand. In Asia, there are Serra Clubs in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Taiwan, Macau, Korea, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Singapore.
The Serra Club of Singapore was inaugurated by Archbishop Nicholas Chia in February 2006 to promote vocations to the priesthood in the Archdiocese of Singapore. It is based at Church of the Holy Cross.