St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society is a lay organisation with the threefold aim of:
fostering vocations to the priesthood and religious life through prayer,
providing financial assistance to seminarians studying for the priesthood,
helping the spiritual growth in personal holiness of our members.
The Society operates through a network of over 330 branches in parishes and workplaces. Most of the branches are parish based, located across dioceses throughout Ireland, north and south. A small number of branches are employment based. Our members number in the low thousands with many more people supporting our work through prayer or financial assistance.
The Society is governed by a Central Council consisting of the President of the Society and other national officers, the President of each branch, plus the President and one other representative of each of 4 Provincial Councils, the President of each Diocesan Committee plus five other members elected to an Executive Committee. It meets at least twice a year.
The Central Council elects the President of the Society, other national officers and the five other elected members, who together with the 4 Provincial Presidents make up the membership of an Executive Committee.
The day to day business of the Society is managed by the Executive Committee.
The members of the Executive Committee, and indeed all officers and members of the Society at other levels, work in a strictly voluntary capacity. Assistance at national level is provided by a General Secretary and two other office staff who are part-time.
The Society undergoes an annual external audit of its financial accounts.
An Annual Report, incorporating the Audited Statement of Accounts, is presented for approval to a meeting of the Central Council each year. This Annual Report is published and circulated to all branches of the Society and a copy is included in the annual report to the Charities Regulatory Authority.
Furthering our Aims
Our First Aim
As baptized members of the one body, the Church, we believe it is the task of all God’s people, especially as members of our Society, to share the Good News throughout the world by praying for vocations and through our support of Seminarians and Priests and our love of the Holy Eucharist
Members of the Society engage in regular daily prayer for vocations. The Society also arranges, sometimes in collaboration with other parish groups:
Afternoons of Prayer
Novenas (Click Here)
Circulation to homes of a Prayer Chalice (Click Here)
Special occasions of prayer for vocations for members of our Society are the feast days of St. Joseph on March 19th and May 1st and also the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Our Holy Father, the Pope, issues a message to the World for the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations.
We welcome in particular the request made by Pope Francis to parish communities, associations and prayer groups in the following message:
“The People of God need to be guided by pastors whose lives are spent in service to the Gospel. I ask parish communities, associations and the many prayer groups present in the Church, not to yield to discouragement but to continue praying that the Lord will send workers to his harvest. May he give us priests enamoured of the Gospel, close to all their brothers and sisters, living signs of God’s merciful love. Mary Most Holy, the Mother of our Saviour, had the courage to embrace this ideal, placing her youth and her enthusiasm in God’s hands. Through her intercession, may we be granted that same openness of heart, that same readiness to respond, “Here I am”, to the Lord’s call, and that same joy in setting out (cf. Lk 1:39), like her, to proclaim him to the whole world.”
From message of Pope Francis for 54th World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2017
Our Second Aim
During the 3 years up to the end of June 2019, in addition to support through prayer, our Society provided financial support to an average of 81 Irish and 556 Overseas Seminarians annually. In the same period the average number of ordinations to the priesthood annually was 12 Irish and 135 Overseas Seminarians who had been supported. The seminarians from overseas are located in various dioceses in Africa, India, Eastern Europe, Asia, Philippines and South America.
The cost of the financial support provided over the 3 year period was almost €2m.
The cost of assisting seminarians financially is met from income derived mainly from members subscriptions collected by branches, also from legacies and bequests and direct contributions by individual benefactors.
At the World Meeting of Families in Dublin in August 2018 the Society showed on its stand, details of dioceses and seminaries in Ireland and throughout the world in which seminarians are being supported on their journey to the priesthood. Priests and Bishops from around the world stopped by to thank the Society for the important contribution we have been making every year and continue to make towards the ordination of many, many priests worldwide. Click for details
Writing in the Society’s quarterly magazine The Sheaf *in October 2019, our Chief Chaplain, Fr. Séamus McEntee said, “I often wonder in looking back over the past 125 years since the founding of SJYPS, and ask how many were the thousands of seminarians who became priests and how many hundreds of thousands of people were baptised and how many millions of people were brought to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a priest who was prayed for and supported by SJYPS.”
Our Third Aim
The Society encourages the spiritual growth in personal holiness of our members and their growth as mature and informed Christians through the various prayer activities already mentioned and also through other events enabling our members to give witness to Christian living e.g.
annual pilgrimages to Knock and Our Lady’s Island,
promoting an appreciation and love of the priesthood which flows from our love of the Eucharist. An annual Mass of Thanksgiving for the Gift of the Priesthood is celebrated on the Feast of Christ the King in November of each year.
conferences and congress meetings, retreats and charitable giving
A Plenary Indulgence may be gained on the usual conditions, by all members of the Society who make or renew, even privately, their commitment to the work of the Society on the following Feast days:
Pentecost, St Joseph on 19th March, St Joseph the Worker on 1st May, St John the Baptist on 24th June and Christ the King between 22nd and 25th November
A Plenary Indulgence may also be gained:
on the day a person becomes a member of the Society
on the day of the Society’s annual pilgrimage to Knock.
What you can do next
You have been reading what we do to further the aims of our Society. We are always open to new ideas and to new people to join us and support us in this task.
We repeat that the task of fostering vocations is one that is entrusted to the whole Christian community. By being involved with or supporting St. Joseph’s Young Priests Society you can help in this important work and also support our priests.