Catenian Association (formed in 1908)

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The Catenian Association is an international Roman Catholic Lay Society with 10,000 members.It was founded in Manchester in 1908, through the initiative of Bishop Louis Charles Casartelli, Bishop of Salford, to encourage Catholic professional and business men to associate for mutual self-help, and to develop social and family bonds. Bishop Casartelli had a particular emphasis on Catholic Action. The Catenian Association has its headquarters in Coventry, in the centre of England, and has branches (known as "Circles") in the United Kingdom, Malta, Ireland, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia and India. Although a Catholic lay society, it has no political, ecumenical or theological objectives - as an Association - but is more an Association of "Brothers" (as members are termed) who themselves are active in Catholic activities and building family bonds. The Catenians are a Brotherhood of men who practise the Catholic faith which guides all that they seek to do. They have pledged themselves to a bond of fraternal love which links them to each other. 'Catena' is Latin for a chain, and the title 'Catenians' exemplifies the continuity of the Brotherhood throughout the world. Catenianism stems from the practice of perfect charity whence flows all that is noble in men. The Brothers strive to help one another as far as they can to happiness and prosperity, and should a Brother suffer misfortune their concern is to aid him in full measure. The Brothers are proudly Catholic and as a Brotherhood are non-political. They do not allow quarrelling to mar their meetings, nor do they tolerate excesses in behaviour. The Brothers seek to observe faithfully the obligations of life, to be charitable in judgment, forbearing in temper and slow to condemn. They strive, if husbands, to be loving and trustworthy; if fathers, mindful of the moral and material well-being of their children and dependants; as sons, dutiful and considerate; as friends, steadfast and true. Brothers and their families meet socially to provide opportunities for the development of friendship and mutual support. As men of honour the Brothers pledge themselves to discharge in spirit and deed their obligations, to strive to strengthen the fraternal love which animates the Brotherhood, and to aid and comfort a Brother in difficulty or need. In this endeavour they rely always on the help of God, and pray to Saints Peter and Paul, and to St Thomas More, for strength of purpose. Catenians are particularly strong in their support for the widows of Brothers.The Circles of the Catenian Association usually meet once a month for discussion and, in some Circles, for dinner. There are a number of other social events, organised at local, Provincial and National level.The Association supports charitable and other good works in a number of ways. Bursaries are available to young people who undertake voluntary work in the Third World. Funds are raised for a project to provide clean water in Africa. At local level, Catenians are active in their parishes, supporting Parish Priests and fellow parishioners.Above all the Catenian Association seeks always to strengthen family life through friendship and faith.

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