Serra International is the only lay organization aggregated to a primary pontifical work. A pontifical work is an organization instituted by the Vatican to advance a particular goal of the Catholic Church. In 1941, Pope Pius XII created the Pontificium Opus Vocationum Sacerdotalium (The Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations) to encourage and coordinate efforts to promote vocations to the sacred priesthood of the Catholic Church. Aggregation, or affiliation, to this pontifical work reflects not only specific support from the Vatican for our mission, but also confers special spiritual benefits on all Serrans.
From the booklet "Pope Pius XII and Serra International":
Serra Aggregated to Pontifical Work in 1951
At its ninth annual convention, held in Kansas City in 1951, Serra International approved a request, made through its episcopal moderator, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago, for affiliation with the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations. The Congregation of Seminaries and Universities, having been informed beforehand of the request and wishing to show by a quick reply the favor with which the petition was received and thus to encourage the important work of Serra International, granted the request immediately, on the very day of the convention, and so informed the delegates by radiogram directed to the Most Reverend Apostolic Delegate.
The Statutes of the Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations
I. The Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations is the principal work for protecting, promoting, and helping priestly vocations. It was established by Our Holy Father Pope Pius XII in the Apostolic letter, Cum Nobis, given motu proprio on November 4, 1941.
II. The Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations has its headquarters in the Sacred Congregation of Seminaries and Universities.
III. To attain the end for which it was instituted, the Pontifical Work
1) is concerned primarily with setting forth a true and clear notion of the nature, the necessity, and the excellence of the priesthood;
2) promotes the offering up of Masses, Communions, prayers and works of penance and charity to the end that God may grant many and excellent priestly vocations;
3) encourages the growth of the project which is established in each diocese for priestly vocations, and tries to have such projects set up where they do not already exist.
IV. Societies can be aggregated to the Pontifical Work, and persons joined to it.
V. The Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations is consecrated to Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Supreme and Eternal Priest; it is entrusted to the maternal care of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Queen of Apostles, and to the guardianship of Saint Joseph, the Patron of the Church Universal. It pays particular honor to the saintly Princes of the Apostles, Saints Peter and Paul.