The Archdiocese of Birmingham - The Parish of the Immaculate Conception


A recent addition to the parish landscape, the Bicester Circle of the Catenian Association is open to all Catholic professional gentlemen – sorry, no lady members, although wives are welcome at some functions. The Catenians were founded in Manchester in 1908 as the Chums Benevolent Association, its original and essential characteristics were typical of many male societies established in the period before the First World War. In 1910, the Chums became The Catenian Association. This was a period of bigotry and suspicion towards Roman Catholics and The Catenians offered the encouragement and mutual support then necessary to empower Catholic men to have the confidence to take their place in business, the professions and public service. A small number of Catholic bishops approved the young organization. They were anxious to see Catholic communities break the bonds of restricted education, low social status, and limited political power and influence. Foremost among these was Bishop Louis Charles Casartelli of Salford who acknowledged that the Chums, and later the Catenians, were a force for good and a vehicle for action. The basic unit of the Association is the Circle and members are known as Brothers. In 1910, there were five Circles with 250 Brothers; by 1914, there were 27 Circles with 1,593 Brothers. Since that formative period, the Association has continued to expand. Now there are over 10,000 Brothers in Circles in the United Kingdom, Australia, Africa, Ireland, Malta and Goa. 
The Aims of the Catenian Association are as follows: to foster brotherly love among the members (members address each other as “brother”), to develop social bonds among the members and their families, to advance the interests of members and their dependants by individual or collective action, to advance the interests of young Catholics and to assist them in the choice or pursuit of a career, to establish, maintain and administer benevolent funds, to promote and support The Catenian Association Benevolent and Children's Fund ("the Benevolent Fund") and the Catenian Bursary Fund.
The Bicester Circle was inaugurated in November 2011, there having previously been too few brothers to form a circle. The Bicester Circle meets on evening of the second Thursday of the month at Chesterton. The benefits of membership include the opportunity to: meet socially and draw support from other Catholic laymen with similar values, become part of a close yet international community that offers lifelong support and friendship to members and their families, mix socially with other like minded Catholic laymen, enjoy interesting and varied social events for members and their families, provide collective support for the church and clergy, receive spiritual and practical support in times of difficulty or need.