What is the Catenian Association?

The Catenian Association is a social organisation for Catholic men in business, the professions or public life. Members find true friendship, with their Catholic Faith providing the strong common bond.
The local Circles hold monthly meetings, and each Circle has a full social programme designed to appeal to all tastes and involve wives and families (see the general type of Social Diary for our Circle below).
Formed in 1908 in Manchester through the instigation of the then Bishop of Salford, Bishop Casartelli, the Association has more than 10,000 members in over 300 Circles. Although founded in this country, there are now Circles in Ireland, Malta, Australia, southern Africa and Hong Kong.


(a) to foster brotherly love among the members.
(b) develop social bonds among the members and their families.
(c) to advance the interests of members and their dependants by individual or collective action.
(d) to advance the interests of young Catholics and to assist them in the choice or pursuit of a career.
(e) to maintain and administer benevolent funds for the benefit of members or their dependants who may be in difficulty or need.

The Association was formed at a time when there was a great deal of anti-Catholic prejudice. Today the prejudice encountered is likely to be anti-Christian and the Association is as relevant now as it was in those early years. It is important that Catholic friendship is fostered and that members are prepared to help one another. It is essential that Catholics should meet together socially as well as spiritually. Do we really know many other members of our local Catholic community? The first three aims of the Association are self explanatory, and by giving support and friendship to one another, either privately or in business, there is the opportunity to show true Christian charity and love to each other. It must be pointed out, however, that the Association is not a vehicle for personal business promotion, and this is covered by a Code of Catenian Business and Professional Practice. It provides an opportunity to exchange views and ideas on Church matters, and even though the clergy are not involved in the Association, there are close ties with clergy and religious to the highest level. Members are always pleased to help in advising young people trying to establish a career and, sometimes, can help with employment opportunities. The Catenian network helps many students find suitable accommodation when they go to college or university. The Association has, in the past, supported Plater College and has now organised a bursary scheme for young people. It also organises, with the help of the Bank of Ireland, several Public Speaking Competitions for Catholic sixth form pupils in various parts of the country. The Association looks after those members, and their dependants, who may, at some time, find themselves in difficulty or need. In this respect each Circle tries particularly to keep in close contact with widows of past members and give them help whenever possible. On a national scale, our Benevolent Fund pays out considerable amounts in grants and loans each year. The Benevolent Fund is the only official charity which the Association supports. However, each Circle and individual members raise money and give help to local charities and worthy schemes. Over the years the Association has established close connections with Lourdes. It has raised money for the Jumbulances and many members have been involved, on an individual basis, in the building and expansion of Hosanna House.


Requirements for membership are -
· The gentleman must be, and must remain, a practising member of the Roman Catholic Church.
· He must be of sound business or professional status.
· He must be sponsored by a Catenian and recommended as a suitable candidate.

Gentlemen are introduced to a Circle either by an existing member or by enquiring of a local Circle about membership. There are notices in many churches, or details of a contact can be found usually in the Diocesan Directory. An invitation is extended to attend after Circle meetings and other social functions. Ladies are often invited to these events. All members are expected to attend as many of the monthly meetings as they can. During a 3 or 4 month period the prospective member has an opportunity to get to know members of the local Circle and decide if he wants to make a long term commitment and join. It also gives the members of the Circle an opportunity to decide if it will issue an invitation to join. If an invitation is offered and accepted, the prospective member completes an application form. He is interviewed by members of the Circle's membership committee and the application then goes to Circle council for consideration. Having successfully completed all the details of application, the prospective member is invited to be enrolled into the Association at the next convenient Circle meeting according to rule. It may take 6 months to join the Association from the first introduction, but this is a relatively short period for anyone who is making what is hoped will be a lifetime commitment.


Details of the cost of membership will be explained by either the Circle's membership officer or sponsor (the member introducing a prospective member). In general terms the annual subscription is made up of two parts -

a) A capitation fee which covers the general costs of running the Association, a set contribution to the Benevolent Fund and the cost of the Annual Directory. This fee is decided by Head Office and subject to the approval of the Association as a whole. There is also the cost of the monthly CATENA magazine.

b) A Circle fee which covers the annual running expenses of the local Circle. Some dining Circles also include the cost of monthly dinners. This fee is decided annually by each Circle. There is an enrolment fee for new members.

Each social event is paid for separately by those committing themselves to attend.

Typical social events can be found in - THE CURRENT SOCIAL PROGRAMME

If you are a practicing Catholic and you are interested in the Catenian Association, contact this Circle Secretary or Head Office

Updated 15 August 2011