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About Us

We are a non-political international brotherhood of like-minded Catholic men who meet socially, at least once a month, at local branches, or "Circles".

Members refer to each other as "brothers", reflecting the sharing of common values that are found within the Association. We also have a commitment to help each other in times of difficulty or need and to develop a bond of friendship. We are not a fundraising agent or Catholic action pressure group.

Our Circle
The City of Winchester Circle, number 163, was founded on the 6th November 1952. It currently has around 50 members and meets on the first Thursday of the month (except December) at 7.15pm, at the Royal Hotel in Winchester. The members are mainly from the parishes of Hampshire Downs (Alresford, Stockbridge and Winchester), Andover and three of the four parishes making up the Parish of St. Swithun Wells, viz. Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh and Romsey. Winchester is bounded on one side by Basingstoke Circle (meets third Monday) and on the other by Southampton Circle (meets first Monday).

The Meeting
The meeting starts and ends with short prayers. Reports are heard from the circle's Secretary and Treasurer, Membership and Provincial Officers with the Welfare Officer reporting on the health of members unable to attend. The Vice President (the Circle’s social organiser) reports on forthcoming events and appraises events recently held. Everyone present, including Brothers visiting from other circles, is encouraged to participate as appropriate. When the formal aspect of the meeting is completed, the President invites contributions from anyone present, on any subject, "for the benefit of the Circle and our Brotherhood". With the meeting over everyone moves to the bar before sitting for dinner.

Dinner After Meetings
Winchester Circle is a "dining Circle", that is we enjoy dinner together immediately following our meeting. Everyone is encouraged to attend, as not to would impair the close social bond that we enjoy with our fellow "Brothers". However, every month some will be unable to attend the meeting whilst others will leave before dinner. Very occasionally brothers too late for the meeting will just attend dinner.
Dinner is currently a formal affair of three courses with coffee and table wine, with options available for vegetarian and other diets. After dinner it is customary for Brother President to speak on a subject of his choice. This varies considerably from year to year, reflecting the background and interests of the President of the day. On occasions there will be a guest speaker or a talk by a member or visitor - and always humorous repartee from someone! The evening normally concludes around 10.30pm.

Visiting
Members are encouraged to visit other Circles in the area and, as Catenians, are free to attend any meeting held anywhere in the world - and contribute to those meetings. A visit to another Circle can pleasurably fill an evening. Usually, the Circle President will make a visit to a different Circle each month accompanied by other members.

Wives and Families
As a social organisation all activities, other than meetings, include members’ wives. Ladies are also invited to attend some dinners after meetings, which are known as "Ladies Nights". As might be expected most members and their wives have developed lifelong friendships within the Association. Depending on the age profile of the Circle, there may be one event specifically for children and others which children can attend. Widows of deceased Catenians are invited to all social events and, if required, transport can be provided.

Social Events
In our circle recent social events have included guided tours of histories houses, gardens and the like (including Blenheim Palace, Bletchley Park – home of WWII codebreakers – Stourhead House and gardens, the War Rooms and Churchill Museum in London and Winchester Cathedral), theatre visits (to Chichester Festival Theatre, Watermill Theatre, Newbury, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, Theatre Royal, Winchester etc), visits to Newbury Races, a monthly walk with a pub lunch, a Burns Night supper, a musical evening and a short trip to Vienna to see the Christmas markets.

Church Activities
Many Catenians have a prominent role in their local parishes and diocese, as well as major Catholic lay organisations. They are also active in the service of the Church and civic community both locally and nationally. We regard this as important, especially with the increasing need for the involvement of laity in the life of the Church.

Charity
Although the Association is not a charity, two charities are associated with it, the Catenian Association Benevolent and Children’s Fund and the Catenian Association Bursary Fund Limited. The former provides monetary assistance to members of the Catenian Association and their dependants, including dependants of deceased members of the Catenian Association, who are in need. The latter has been set up to encourage and assist Roman Catholics between the ages of 16 to 24 actively to involve themselves in projects for the benefit of the community, at home or abroad.
The Association is not involved in any other charitable work. However, it is common practice for individual Circle Presidents to promote their own charitable cause during their year in office. Chosen charities in recent years include, Prostate UK, CLIC Sargent, Emmaus UK, Make-a-Wish Foundation and Naomi House Children's Hospice. 

Publications
Every member receives a Directory of the Association, usually in June each year. The Directory lists all the Circles and the members of each. It also contains the rules of the Association.
Each month a magazine called Catena is mailed free to all members, in this country and overseas. It contains articles and photographs of Circle / member activities and achievements and a very popular "Letters" page.

Once a year the Circle produces a calendar showing the main events and listing the officers, members and widows of deceased brothers and their telephone numbers. After each Circle meeting minutes of that meeting are sent to every member.