1. What is the St. Joseph’s Businessmen’s Association (SJBMA)?
To quote our mission statement: “The St. Joseph’s Businessmen’s Association is a lay organization of Roman Catholic men who want to infuse their professional life with the Catholic Faith and are guided by the social principles taught by the Magisterium of the Church. We place ourselves under the spiritual guidance of the priests of the Society of St. Pius X, following the spirit of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, defender of Catholic Tradition, and adhere to the SJBMA Code of Ethics.
“Our practical mission is to explore, develop and promote economic opportunities among like-minded traditional Catholics associated with the Society of St. Pius X, and train youth through educational apprenticeships and financial counseling. In addition, we’re dedicated to identifying the skills of the Association’s members who possess expertise that may be valuable to start new businesses or assist existing ones. Through our mission we will support each other, our families and parishes for the greater glory of God.”
2. When and where was it founded?
The SJBMA was founded in St. Mary’s Kansas in 2001.
3. Why was it started?
The organization was established by men that recognized the hostility of the modern world towards workingmen in general and Catholic social principles in the workplace in particular. The founders wondered if it were possible to form an organization that would promote the financial wellbeing of traditional Catholic families and help members to better serve our Lord through the work that is part of their duty of state.
In a rural area like St. Marys (read, middle of nowhere), the financial challenge is increased. There is not a burgeoning local job market. The founders wanted to help each other provide jobs for themselves, their sons, and St. Marys parishioners. As a side benefit, bringing outside capital into the community at large would be a valuable service to everyone who lives and works in Pottawatomie county.
Moving into an area with limited local economic opportunities had made the decision to start businesses easier for at least a few of the early members. Others brought existing businesses with them upon moving into town. The founders hoped that if a fellow Catholic stepped forward desiring to start a business of their own, members of the SJBMA would be available to give professional advice and encouragement based upon personal experience as business owners.
Economically, the drive to reduce wages and the effort to turn all of us into insatiable consumers makes keeping wives out of the workforce to raise children more and more difficult for the average family. One of the things that the SJBMA founders hoped to accomplish was to demonstrate to the world, their neighbors and most importantly to their children that you can indeed be successful in business and still keep the Faith. You can live with dignity without compromising.
At the organizational meeting of the SJBMA it was agreed that the first step in forming the group was to put the Association under the spiritual direction of one of our SSPX priests. The objective of doing so was to ensure that the principles and means used in achieving the SJBMA’s goals would be in conformance with the social teachings of Holy Mother the Church.
The SJBMA was not intended to simply promote money-making by traditional Catholics but to help members to practice integrally Catholic principles in the business world for the good of all. It was recognized that some might achieve economic success which would increase the importance of focusing on doing good for one’s neighbors and the Church thereby mitigating the inherent danger of mixing riches with man’s fallen nature.
4. What is the SJBMA trying to accomplish?
In general, provide Traditional Catholic men a network on the local and national scale so that they might, among themselves:
- Learn – The Social Doctrine of the Church is a rich treasure which businessmen need to be acquainted with
- Hire – provide employment and help others to find suitable employment
- Buy – give business to fellow Traditional Catholics as a matter of preference
- Sell – provide services and goods especially to markets outside our traditional Catholic community
- Consult – help each other start businesses and share ideas about running businesses
- Discuss – debate and discuss Catholic social doctrine, trading ideas on such things as fatherhood, dealing with the world, Catholicizing the workplace, etc.
In particular, in St. Marys, the SJBMA also engages in the following activities:
- Career Fair – the SJBMA puts on a job fair one Saturday each November that is mandatory for the junior and senior boys of St. Mary’s Academy to attend. During three hours, parish men explain the pros and cons of their professions. The members understand that in a world with an almost unlimited number of options, choosing a career path can be a daunting challenge for their children. They try to pass on to the students that although an individual could be happy pursuing any number of careers, the ideal choice is to pick a career that best serves our Lord according to the talents and inclinations He has given us.
- Christ the King – the SJBMA coordinates and organizes the festival that takes place after the ceremonies, wherein parishioners set up booths around the campus quadrangle representing different nationalities and providing ethnic food.
- Financial Education – the SJBMA hosts a series of classes given to individuals and couples to help them manage their finances and get out of debt.
- SJBMA Day – once a year, on a feast of St. Joseph, members attend a 6 AM Mass celebrated by the chaplain for the intentions of the SJBMA, and renew their consecration to St. Joseph. A dinner is held in the evening for members and their spouses.
- Monthly meeting – once a month, there is a general meeting for members with a talk by the chaplain and often as well by a guest speaker. Afterwards, members mingle and exchange ideas.
5. Who is in charge?
The basic structure of the SJBMA is composed of a chaplain and an executive committee. The chaplain, a priest of the SSPX, provides direction to the committee and education to SJBMA members on Catholic social principles. He attends both the general meetings and those of the board.
The Executive committee is a five-member committee elected annually. Among the board members are a president, a secretary, and a treasurer. The President heads the executive committee and presides over SJBMA meetings.
6. Who is allowed to join?
Membership is open to all Catholic men, 18 years and older, who are supportive of the work of the SSPX.
7. How do you become a member? Does it cost anything?
- If you know someone who is already a member, that person can enable you to become a member by going to http://www.sjbma.org/invite and sending an invitation code to your email address.
- If you do not know any members, you can submit a request to join to the SJBMA Board at http://www.sjbma.org/contact. The request should include a mention of the SSPX chapel that you attend.
Currently, there is no membership fee.
8. Do you have to live in St. Mary’s to participate?
No. By signing up on the website www.sjbma.org, one becomes a member and is enabled to make use of opportunities for helping and being helped by other Traditional Catholics in business endeavors. Currently, around 160 men are members from chapels around the US. SSPX goers outside the US are encouraged to sign up as well.
9. Do you have to own a business to join?
No. The objectives of the SJBMA extend well beyond business owners to include every Traditional Catholic workingman. To further its overall goal of promoting economic development amongst Traditional Catholics, the SJBMA focuses especially on the following:
1. Providing training to business owners and non-business owners alike concerning the traditional teachings of the Church regarding the rights and responsibilities of Catholic business owners.
2. Providing sound business advice and training to non-businessmen and the youth of the parish through educational apprenticeships, financial counseling, sharing of entrepreneurial experiences, etc.
3. Promoting business opportunities for Traditional Catholics through networking, encouraging new business development, etc.
4. Promoting the concept of noblesse oblige as it pertains to the Catholic businessman.
5. Encouraging business owners to be an important part of their Traditional Catholic community at large, participating in its development as a place to live, do business, and raise a family.
10. Is it a business network, an educational organization, or both?
Both. The SJBMA is interested in Catholic social principles and wants its members to understand them more fully. An association that acts without thinking is like a body without a soul, a train without a conductor. The SJBMA is focused on more than simply making money; it is about living an integral Catholic life in today’s business world and practicing charity. Members are expected to understand Catholic social principles when starting a business or going to work for an employer.
11. Does the SJBMA get into politics or economics?
The SJBMA is not affiliated with any political party and eschews partisan politics. Neither is it tied to any economic platform. It simply follows the social principles of the Catholic Church. Members are encouraged to think about and discuss, with due Christian charity, all matters pertaining to business, of which economics is certainly a part. The Association itself, however, remains aloof from association with anything but Catholic social principles.
At the same time, the SJBMA has been instrumental in getting some members to run for local office. Getting a traditional Catholic mayor and city commissioners elected in St. Marys was ultimately an initiative of the SJBMA. Announcements are made occasionally at SJBMA meetings about parishioners running for local office. That is the extent of SJBMA’s political involvement; party politics is not part of the platform of the SJBMA.
12. Can I use the SJBMA to help my sons discern a trade or find a college near a Society chapel?
Part of our goal is to assist our youth in discerning their future from a Catholic perspective. While the secular university may be a necessity in training the young professionals of tomorrow, they have
the potential of having a negative impact on a young adult’s faith. One way to minimize the negative impact of secular schools is the availability of a SSPX chapel and the sacraments. We intend to serve
as a network to connect potential students with Catholic professionals in their field of study and provide information on colleges or universities near SSPX chapels.
13. Can I use the SJBMA to find a job?
Absolutely. It is the members’ hope that the SJBMA will provide a means for traditional Catholics to help each other in these difficult economic times. The website enables members to create their own profile, post a resume, and indicate whether or not they are seeking a job. Also, those wishing to hire a new employee can post job openings on the website and solicit job applications from members.