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Manchester  No.1

Barton Arcade Plaque

Manchester was the original founding Circle of the Catenian Association and its first meeting place was in the Barton Arcade on St Ann’s Square in 1908 and we still meet in Central Manchester nowadays at the Portland Thistle Hotel
Barton Arcade
The Circle Centenary celebrations were incorporated into the Annual Conference weekend commencing with a Mass of Thanksgiving in Salford Cathedral attended by 800+ Catenians and their families followed by a Centenary Banquet in the Midland Hotel.

The Mass was celebrated by the then Bishop of Salford, Rt. Rev. Thomas Brain, sustaining the link back to Bishop Casartelli of Salford, who was hugely encouraging to the original founders of the Association. A further historic link was that the Midland Hotel was the meeting place of Number One for many years.

The Circle celebrations were concluded with a Centenary Meeting in the Palace Hotel with 540 brothers in attendance from all over the world.

Brian and Ann Website


This year our President is Brian Lillis, who is also a member of Rochdale (72) Circle


We dine after meetings at The Pendulum Hotel on Sackville St and regularly have after speakers; this year we have had a presentation by Steve Burrows on the BOB Box, which is an initiative of Cafod. In September Fr. Richard Howard of St. Marys Horwich achieved the nigh impossible task of giving a fascinating talk on Canon Law



Afternoon Tea



Pictured right is a group pic of champagne tea for 15 of the Circle ladies at the Portland Thistle Hotel in Manchester hosted by previous President, Jimmy Dickson.

All who were able to attend certainly enjoyed Jimmy’s hospitality, which reflectects the importance of our ladies to the Association.As Lisa King said “What a magnificent gesture!”

Bro. Joe McNally a Past President of Manchester 1 Circle was honoured by Pope Francis on 7th November 2015

KCSG with Clergy 1A rev

At an impressive ceremony at St Marie’s Cathedral in Sheffield Joe was invested  as a Knight Commander of the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St Gregory the Great.

Its a bit of a mouthful but it is just a reflection of the enormous contribution he has made in public life the UK, to the Catholic Church, to us as Catenians and to the numerous charities he has supported over the years.

His standing in the Church was recognised by the presence of not one but two Bishops, Ralph Heskett of Hallam, who conducted the investiture and John Arnold of Salford, and 6 priests, who concelebrated the Mass following

The presence of ten fellow Past Grand Presidents as well as numerous Catenians was testament to his standing in the worldwide Catenian Association 

J McNally Investiture 1 Rev




Joe’s wife, Philomena and his sponsors, Past Grand President Jim KellyKSG and James Hagerty KSG , watch his investiture by Bishop Ralph Heskett with Bishop John Arnold in attendance.




We regularly invite a guest speaker to give a short talk to brothers and guests at the usual meal following our monthly meeting and we have had many exceptional guest speakers

Bishop John Arnold

We were very pleased to welcome the Rt. Rev. John Arnold, Bishop of Salford, as principal guest at our Charter and Clergy Evening at the Portland Thistle Hotel in November. Of course he had to sing for his supper and he responded on behalf of the clergy and guests with an excellent speech. It continues a long association between our Circle and the Bishops of Salford dating back to the encouragement and support of Bishop Casartelli to our founders over 100 years ago.



Andrew JohnsonMr Andrew Johnson, Headmaster of Stonyhurst College gave a short but very interesting talk on their approach to the education of the young in the context of maintaining the Catholic ethos of this, the oldest Jesuit College in the world.



Other guest speakers have included the Polish Consul, Piotr Nowotniak, (right) gave an interesting insight into The Church in Poland Today.



Bishop of Manchester


The Anglican Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Revd Nigel S McCulloch, (left)
has also been a very welcome guest.


 At our February Meeting Bro. Jim Hegarty, who is a highly regarded historian, provided a very interesting talk on the Work of Catholic Chaplains during War Time.


We arrange a Mass and a Dinner with a Guest Speaker annually to celebrate the life of Bishop Casartelli, who was Bishop of Salford in 1908 and provided considerable encouragement to the founders of this Circle, the first in the Catenian Association. During his year of office as Circle President Peter Purdue delivered a thought provoking address. (Click Here to download the text - we have added some illustrations).

Last year, the Guest of Honour was Sir Peter Fahey QPM, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, and the Guest Speaker was Catherine Pepinster, Editor of The Tablet, whose talk on being a Catholic in a secular world was highly interesting in light of current discussions.

This year our guest of honour was John Arnold, the new Bishop of Salford who is the liaison Bishop between the Bishop’s Conference and the Catenian Association and continues the long Association of Bishops of Salford and Manchester 1 Circle

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