Catholic Associations and groups.

We seek to encourage members of our congregation who wish to celebrate their Christian views and beliefs and weave them more closely into their home and community lives, to join groups of like minded people within our church at the many events that we take part in during the year. At English Martyrs there are many opportunities for charitable work fund raising and social get togethers throughout the year when closer ties to the local catholic community and in Whalley in particular, the other churches can be formed, this  serves to expand the social cohesiveness of the area and brings like minded Christian people together.  You would be very welcome to join in any of our activities regularly posted on the weekly  bulletin and of course we are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers with energy and ideas.

Working closely with the English Martyrs Church are two organisations of particular note.

The St Vincent de Paul Society and The Catenian Association.

Firstly the S.V.P who have a notice board of their activities in the church porch.  Their Vision, which is  inspired by Christ’s message to love our neighbour as ourselves, is for individuals and families who are in any form of need to have hope, together with a sense of dignity, worth, well being and peace of mind.

Their Mission is to seek and find those in need, to help them in a spirit of justice and to tackle the causes of poverty where they can.The founders of the Vincentian family, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, Blessed Frederic Ozanam and Blessed Rosalie Rendu encountered Christ in the poor of their time. The God revealed in that encounter was a God of compassionate love. Through their relationships with people who were oppressed because of poverty, Frederic, Louise and Vincent were themselves transformed.

That transformation led them:

  • to look at society from the perspective of people who are excluded
  • to become more compassionate and caring and
  • to a deep commitment to the elimination of poverty and suffering.

This highlights the specifically Vincentian way of approaching Justice issues. It emerges from the ‘bottom up’ not from the ‘top down’, being based on active involvement with the poor. In opening our hearts to people who are poor, it is our hope that we will be similarly transformed on a personal level, and inspired to work for the transformation of society in their interests.

The SVP supports justice and peace by encouraging communities and individuals to improve their quality of life, but works to address the causes of need. It gathers and uses information about the effects of legislation on grass roots poverty, examines relevant draft legislation and responds to government on issues that adversely affect the poor, mainly by co-operating with other Christian and voluntary groups in the UK and within Europe. However, in dealing with such matters it avoids party politics.

Membership is open to men and women, young and old, of any denomination. The SVP only asks that members accept fully the Christian ethos of the Society, and are committed to express their love of God through personal service to their neighbour. The SVP respects religious liberty and values all people.

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Secondly THE CATENIAN ASSOCIATION.

The Catenian Association is an organisation for practising Catholic men with over 10,000 members world-wide. There are active members in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Australia, Zimbabwe, and Goa (India).

The Association’s aim is to strengthen family life through a shared faith and friendship among like-minded Catholics and their families. Though membership of the Association is restricted to men only, most functions outside the monthly Circle meetings, are open to wives, families and friends and indeed their attendance at such events is warmly and actively encouraged.

The Association is non-political and is not a Catholic action or fund-raising group. It does have a role in supporting and encouraging those members who, in their own right, are involved in many other Catholic organisations both at a local and national level. However, on certain occasions the Association as a whole has leant its name to national appeals and in 2008 the Association’s ‘Give Water Life and Hope’ Centenary Appeal raised over £250,000 for CAFOD’s water projects in Southern Africa.

Catenians are proudly Catholic and praying together forms a central part of their monthly Circle meetings. Many Catenians also play an important and active part in Parish life.

Benevolence is also a very strong element in the philosophy of the Association and the Association has both a benevolent fund, for those members and their families who are in need of help, and a bursary fund to which teenagers and young adults are eligible to apply, for financial assistance, when they undertake voluntary work such as helping the sick in pilgrimages to Lourdes or involvement in third-world poverty and medical relief projects.

In this part of East Lancashire there are Catenian Circles in Accrington, Blackburn, Burnley, Ribble Valley and Broughton-in-Craven but the majority of Catenians in this Parish belong to the Accrington Circle.
The Accrington Circle was inaugurated on 21st August 1924 and celebrated its 1000th meeting on 11th January 2010. It is the 80th of 356 Circles making up the worldwide Association. It meets on the second Monday of each month at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel, Clayton-le-Moors at 8.00pm. Normal meetings are followed be a two course buffet style meal.

Interested? Then why not come along and see for yourself?

For further information please contact: Paul Birch (Circle Secretary) on 01254  884250 or Andrew Snape (Circle Membership Officer) on 01254 825317.