Eastern Link

March 2019

Eastern Link banner light blue 1000

Eastern Link returns as the online newsletter of Province 21 of the Catenian Association, it will share news, views and resources to help circles grow the association.
It will be an opportunity to share information on ideas for social events, guest speakers and how we can be more involved in our parishes among other things.
Our news gathering relies on your circle newsletters being sent to the Circle Secretary list (p21.circle.secretaries@thecatenians.org.au), we then collect stories and photos that can be shared among all circles. 
Once you have your calendar confirmed include as much detail as possible in your newsletter, we can then publicise the meeting via Eastern Link.

If you have any stories and photos to submit, please email them to p21.newsletter@thecatenians.org.au * the photos need to be as high resolution as possible, pictures taken on your phones are perfect.


Strategy Work Group papers 
The Strategy Work Group (SWG) chaired by Bro. Peter Woodford has prepared a number of Position Papers which are ready for comments.   Read more >>
A Blueprint for Catenian Renewal?
Could this paper from the SWG be a blueprint for the future of the Catenian Association.   Read more >>
  No update to meeting procedures?
An interesting proposal in the Strategy Work Group paper titled 'Topic 5 - Further Modernisation'.   Read more >>
Award for the best newsletter in Province 21 for 2018-2019

newspaper 100Province 21 has instituted a Best Newsletter Competition be held on an annual basis with the first competition to relate to the 2018-2019 year ending March 2019.   Read more >>

Peter McDonald Wins the 2019 Little John Mug for Pittwater>
chrispeter 100The topic for this years competition was 'It's hard to lead  calvary charge if you funny on a horse'  and after a spirited competion Pittwater Circle's Peter McDonald was the winner in a tight finish. Hosted by th Hills Circle, some 47 Brothers attended this years Little John Mug, the speaking competition for incoming Presidents.   Read more >>
Australia vs East Timor, is it a fair fight? 
Sr. Susan Connolly will share her views on East Timor at Manly's March meeting

SrSusan100hSr. Susan Connolly will be speaking at the Manly Circle Ladies Night on Wednesday 20th March, Sr. Susan is a passionate East Timor supporter and will offer her special insights into Australia's relationship with East Timor.   Read more >>

Friends of Catenians - a social outreach for Catenians?
190223 trivia 100An extension of a circles social program expands the Catenian brand as well as contributing to parish life. It started with two of us deciding to go for a walk on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, then inviting fellow parishioners to join us.   Read more >>
Australia Day honours for Pittwater
190222 pittwater 3 100Rex Harding, Order of Australia Medal (OAM) and Maureen Rutlidge,  Senior Citizen of the Year. Anyone who knows Rex appreciates the time and energy he has put into community service. Rex’s honour was based on three main areas of community service.   Read more >>
Harbourside North take out the Griffith Virgona trophy

IMG 8605a100The annual joint meeting between Manly and Harbourside North Circles included the annual Griffiths Virgona Shield trivia competition between the 2 Circles.   Read more >>

 Phil Murray reviews the renewal workshops
190223 phil murray 70Pat Supple shares his story and Phil Murray reflects on his work compiling the results of the renewal workshops. Fierce competition was the order of the day for the bowls match at the Labor Club, Stirling, on Tuesday, 22 January.   Read more >>
 What do we need to do to survive for the next 10 years? - The Hills & Carlingford
A discussion at The Hills January joint meeting with Carlingford.   Read more >>
 Provincial councilors reports
What's been happenning around the circles.  
 Province 21 events calendar
A list of provincial events for 2019  

190223 letters 50An opportunity ro raise a topic or respond to a matter raised in Easter Link - let's talk!   Read more >>

Edited by: Paul Pearson p21.newsletter@thecatenians.org.au 

Strategy Work Group papers

The Strategy Work Group (SWG) chaired by Bro. Peter Woodford has prepared a number of Position Papers which have been put up on the Association Members Area website https://www.thecatenians.com/members/strategy/ as well as on the Australian website at  thecatenians.org.au/strategic-review for members to review and comment upon.

A dedicated e-mail address has been established by Head Office for members to send in their comments to the SWG: strategy@thecatenians.com

The consultation period has been extended until after Easter, and will now close on Friday 26th April 2019.

The work of the SWG is a Central Council initiative intended to tap into the thinking of members at grassroots level upwards.

The publication of this series of Position Papers marks the start of a consultation with members.

Brothers are now invited to send their comments on these position papers using the dedicated e-mail address strategy@thecatenians.com.

Circles and Provinces are also invited to consider submitting collated responses which capture the views of those members who do not wish to provide individual comments.

The consultation period is open until 31st March 2019. Following that the SWG will reflect on the views and comments received and will then submit its closing report to Central Council with recommendations for further action.

Brothers our Association is unique as it embodies all that is worthwhile in human values and relationships.

We are changing in a changing world and so we must consider what is needed to retain those values and identify what is needed to assure our future. Because we are human we are not perfect.

Our Association is managed by enthusiastic volunteers at all levels who give their time and expertise freely because of their commitment to our Aims, so what is needed is an honest appraisal of our position, ensuring that the handful of critics who have forgotten the benefits of membership, to interfere with our intentions.

Brothers this is your opportunity to have a voice in the future of the Association.

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A Blueprint for Catenian Renewal?

Could this paper  be a blueprint for the future of the Catenian Association.

The authors of the Strategy Work Group paper titled 'Topic 3 Relationships'  took not only their own counsel but compared that with a group of four others in Province 8 GB who met the criteria of “young Catenians”. 

What came through was a “top 4” consisting of:-

  • Cost
  • Social programmes with children at the core
  • Taking office
  • Making the monthly meeting more informal

This paper also asks us to consider membership of priests and the inclusion of the whole family in our activities.

Follow this link to read this thought provoking paper and email your views to Strategy@thecatenians.com or leave a comment on the Discussion Board.

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No update to meeting procedures?

An interesting submission in the Strategy Work Group paper titled 'Topic 5 - Further Modernisation'.

To quote from Sub-Topic A on procedures - “The agenda for Circle meetings should retain the prayer elements in full – they are tried, tested and desirable to the overall ethos that Circles should be spreading among members.”

Follow this link to read the paper and either email Strategy@thecatenians.com or leave a comment on the Discussion Board.

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Award for the best newsletter in Province 21 for 2018-2019

newspaper 200Province 21 has instituted a Best Newsletter Competition to be held on an annual basis with the first competition to relate to the 2018-2019 year ending with newsletters up to March 2019 eligible.

Each contesting Circle must nominate a single newsletter which must be available for access on the ANC Website at www.thecatenians.org.au.

Once you've selected your best newsletter email the month to Chris Pitts at webmaster@thecatenians.org.au

The initial judges to be Chris Pitts (Chair), Paul Pearson and Tom Colman.

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Peter McDonald Wins the 2019 Little John Mug for Pittwater

Province 21's Little John Mug Competition was hosted this year by The Hills Circle at Baulkham Hills in Sydney. It is a speaking competition, established in 1984, where the incoming Presidents from Circles in Province 21 are asked to give a 5-minute speech on a topic chosen by the Provincial Secretary. And that topic can be ANYTHING … and invariably is!  

Their presentation is judged on content, originality, delivery, humour, audience reaction and observance of the time limit.   The topic for this year was a quotation by the former US Vice-President of the late 1800s, Adlai Stevenson:   It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.   

To say the topics tend to come from left field is indeed an understatement!  

The intent of the competition is twofold:  

  • To provide a forum at which all the Presidents-elect in the Province could meet one another and share some time together prior to the start of their Presidential year. This being in the expectation that as they would be leading their Circle's inter-circle visiting programme they should be meeting fairly regularly and it would diminish the "good host" burden on the President of the visited circle if all the President's of the province were acquainted.
  • It is an inevitable aspect of being a Circle President that one is called upon to "say a few words" both with and without prior notice. Hence, the speaking part of the evening is intended to help incoming President's adapt to this role.

While Presidents-elect are invited to participate in this competition, there is no compulsion to do so.

The 2019 Little John Mug was held on Tuesday, 26 February 2019 at The Hills Circle. Around 50 Brothers attended. At the end of the night, the Little John Mug was won by Peter McDonald from Pittwater Circle. Manly's Mike Guy tied for second place with Stim Robinson from Ku-Ring-Gai Circle.  

In all, 7 Brothers participated in the competition. In order of speaking, they were: 1. Mike Guy (Manly); 2. Nick Hammond (Warringah); 3. Luis Cortez (Hornsby); 4. Stim Robinson (Ku-Ring-Gai); 5. Warren Clark (Carlingford); 6. George Doublesin (The Hills); 7. Peter McDonald (Pittwater).    The judges for the competition were George Kazs (ANC President), Kevin Doherty and Chris Vaile.

Photos below show the speakers at the lectern – it was clear they were serious! 

 mikguy 250Mike Guy stim 250Stim Robinson  warren 250Warren Clark  petrmc 250Peter McDonald 
IMG 8624aNick Hammond  IMG 8654a330George Doublesin  IMG 8639a 330Luis Cortez 

ChrisPeter 1000Province 21 Vice-President Chris Vaile presenting the Little John Mug to Peter McDonald.

peteretc 600  george 400 

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Australia vs East Timor, is it a fair fight?
Sr. Susan Connolly will share her views on East Timor at Manly's March meeting

Contact Romano Di Donato by Monday, 18 March 2019 – his email is romlaw1@tpg.com.au or mobile on 0407 153 626 if you would like to join the night.

  • East Timor was largely destroyed at the end of the Indonesian occupation. Australia helped reconstruction through AusAid.
  • At the same time Australia and the new nation of Timor-Leste were negotiating over the resources of the Timor Sea.
  • The Australian Government spied on the Timorese negotiators. ECONOMIC ESPIONAGE on USA? (no), China? (er, no), New Zealand? (oh, please), East Timor? (correct).
  • One of the Australian spies, now known as "Witness K" was horrified to later learn that the Foreign Minister at the time of the spying was now lobbying for the oil company. "Witness K" engaged a lawyer - Bernard Collaery.
  • Timor then ended the Treaty which had been spied on and began negotiations for a proper border.
  • The new border Treaty was signed in New York in March 2018. But then came the bombshell…. "K"and Collaery were charged.
  • Yes. Govt spied illegally, but "K" and Collaery face jail.
  • Sshh. Keep it under wraps. If it comes up, it's about "National Security". (Always a winner, heh, heh.)
  • Hang on! What's the crime? The illegal spying…or telling the truth? What about if someone spied on us?????
  • Ah, but you see, when we get spied on, that's a different thing altogether. Like SOME STATE ACTORS do to us. (What dreadful people, so underhanded.) But if we spy on someone else (like East Timor) well, that's in Australia's national interest.
  • Sure we're prosecuting Witness K and Bernard Collaery…. but we can say no more...our lips are sealed… (and we'd rather yours were too) in the national interest, you understand…. for national security….. to keep you safe…

SrSusan400hSr. Susan ConnollyOur Values

What would you regard as "Australian values"? Fairness? The rule of law? Honesty? Decency? Championing the underdog? Plain speaking? Truth? Justice?

The Issue

In 2004, Australian security personnel from the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) put listening devices into the walls of the Timorese Prime Minister's offices to eavesdrop on the planning sessions concerning a Timor Sea resources treaty. This act of espionage invalidated the right of the Timorese to open and fair negotiations, yet the Australian government claims to have acted "in good faith".

One of those involved (Witness K) complained to his superiors when he found that Australian officials who had ordered the spying were lobbying for Woodside Petroleum, one of the oil companies connected to the Timor Sea deals. Witness K was advised by ASIS to get a lawyer, and he approached Bernard Collaery. In June 2018 they were charged with allegedly communicating Australian security information.

There are challenges to law, truth, transparency and honesty in this trickery against a struggling neighbour.

The prosecution of the two men involves restricted access to all the facts and the concept of "national security" to conceal actions of government. Neither the espionage nor its revelation had anything to do with the safety or security of any Australian person or institution. The only "threat" is that it shows the lengths and the depths to which Australian governments can go for financial gain.


~The Attorney-General for Australia has the power to dismiss the case~

That power exists under s.71 of the Judiciary Act 1903.


No other legislation overrides the A-G's power to do this.

Mark Dreyfus QC MP is the Shadow Attorney-General and could possibly fill the ministerial position if Labor wins the forthcoming election.

Please write to both of these men. Ask the Attorney-General Christian Porter MP to drop the charges now. Ask Mark Dreyfus his opinion. You will not get a straight answer from either, but it is important that Australians voice strong opposition to this injustice and demand that the case be discontinued.

Contact for both Christian Porter and Mark Dreyfus:
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

If you wish, you could send emails, but it is apparent that posted letters have more force.

You might consider getting family and friends to write too.

Background material worth reading:

Many other articles are on the internet.

Thank you for your attention to this serious situation.
Timor Sea Justice Forum

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Friends of Catenians - a social outreach for Catenians?

Manly Circle began our version of the Friends of Catenians concept at the beginning of 2018, with a social outreach program.

It started with two of us deciding to go for a walk on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.

That walking group quickly grew to anywhere between 4 and 12, with a slightly different group each day with grandchildren babysitting duties taken into account.

The group has also grown from just circle members with invitations to fellow parishioners and friends and even other circles members.

Any circle with an existing social program could expand their reach with invitations to fellow parishioners, widows who may be no longer socially active (read lonely), friends etc., Manly has treated this as not necessarily a membership drive, but reaching out to those who might be lonely, looking for a social community connection.

190218 triviaCatenians were outnumbered at our Friends of Catenians Trivia NightManly Friends activities have grown to include regular trivia nights, once a month at our local RSL club where we get between 10 and 20 people, a mix friends, neighbours and family, oh and some Catenians.

Our best result being one question off 3rd place, it’s definitely not about winning trivia, it’s about sharing a meal and having fun.

All it takes is two brothers, even better two couples to begin anything, then spread the word.

Our social outreach now also includes theatre nights, Bastille Day celebrations (any excuse for a party) and joining in fund raising walks, all events being well attended by Catenians, wives, friends and fellow parishioners.

While we haven’t gained any new members as yet, we’ve certainly grown our network and raised brand awareness in our parish. 

We also sponsored (cooked the breakfast) a Men’s Breakfast in North Harbour Parish at the end of last year where we had 40 men attend a talk given by Steve Lia from the menAlive Catholic ministry, again more brand awareness and another walker joining our group with 2 potential new members.

The menAlive Ministry http://www.menalive.org.au/ are based in Brisbane but have groups in Sydney and Melbourne.

They offer their services at no charge, so are a great source of speakers for Breakfasts, night time events and parish retreat weekends – which all can be branded as Catenian events.

They offer a ‘Father Factor’ talk which is naturally targeted at Fathers, talking about good parenting and is an ideal talk for school dads, a great opportunity for Catenians to be exposed to another market with the perhaps unchurched school dads at the Catenian
sponsored event.

Perhaps this model is something more circles could look at, social outreach, where we actually do something tangible in our parishes, creating more brand awareness contributing to parish life and community, giving those who might be lonely, both male and female an opportunity to join in.

Our own Central Council Chairman Bro George Kazs has been developing a relationship with menAlive so they are no strangers to Catenians, in fact one of their people attended the Melbourne conference last year.

Could your circle expand its reach at your next social gathering by inviting some fellow parishioners, putting an invitation in the parish bulletin, a re-contact point for ex-members, prospects, priests, as an outreach with no commitment necessary, just a social gathering.

Paul Pearson
Manly Circle 322

 Let’s continue this conversation, through our letters section.

Email the editor at p21.newsletter@thecatenians.org.au

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Australia Day honours for Pittwater

Rex Harding, Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for Service to the Northern Beaches Community

190222 pittwater 3 200Rex Harding was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for Service to the Northern Beaches Community. 

Anyone who knows Rex appreciates the time and energy he has put into community service. Rex’s honour was based on three main areas of community service.

The abbreviated version is as follows:

St Vincent de Paul Society.
Rex joined the St Pious V Conference Enmore in 1961 and has numerous achievements.

He is currently Diocesan Spiritual Facilitator and Regional Spiritual Facilitator.

Community of Northern Beaches.
Catechist; Surf Life Saving; Volunteer Coastal Patrol; Scouting Australia; Cerebral Palsy Alliance. He is currently Chair of the Board of Northern Beaches Community Connect.

Celtic Cultural Societies.
Active member Scottish Australia Heritage Council; Secretary Australian Irish Society – Northern Beaches Irish Festival. Currently Northern NSW representative for Clan McGregor Society of Scotland, Chieftain Warringah Scottish Society.

When asked about his work as a volunteer Rex said: “The greatest honour given to me was a simple gesture, it made being a volunteer something that lifts the spirit. This was the night I was presented with the Australian Defence Force Medal personally by Rear Admiral Dr Graeme Shirtley.

Dr Shirtley served with us in Sydney Port Division Royal Australian Navy Reserve and went on to be in charge of all medicos in all three defence services. His professional life was exemplary, and he was the Patron of our branch of the Naval Association of Australia.

He was honoured both here and abroad and passed away tragically in 2012 only 61 years of age. To me he walked in the footsteps of Weary Dunlop and our own Dr Jim Roche in the annals of military doctors.”

It is exhausting just reading of Rex’s achievements. Imagine the energy required to actually
perform these roles. Congratulations Rex.

Rex joins Pittwater brothers Dr Jim(J.B.) Roche OAM CLJ and Russell Collins OAM in this
exclusive club. 

Maureen Rutlidge,  Senior Citizen of the Year, awarded by Northern Beaches Council for her service to disabled adults.

190222 pittwater 4Maureen Rutlidge, wife of Brother Mike Rutlidge, was awarded Senior Citizen of the Year by Northern Beaches Council for her service to disabled adults.

Maureen Rutlidge has received recognition for over 25 years of service to the disabled by being awarded Senior Citizen of the Year by Northern Beaches Council.

Since 1994 Maureen has been the coordinator of Northern Beaches Creative Leisure & Learning which provides activities to encourage the constructive use of leisure hours & promote the enjoyment of lifelong learning.

Current activities include monthly Sunday art/craft workshops for adults with special needs; monthly History Walks around the northern beaches & north shore; discussions, cards / board games for seniors.

Maureen was nominated for the award by one of the cerebral palsy clients in the Sunday program where participants enjoy a variety of activities including cooking, art/craft classes, music & drama, puppetry & plays, & discussions.

The group is based at the Nelson Heather Centre, Warriewood. 

Maureen organises monthly History Walks which provide insight into the pioneers of the
northern beaches and north shore and allow walkers to appreciate the beauty of the natural environment.

Since 1992 she has been a volunteer in Local Studies, now located at Mona Vale Library.

Maureen has also been a Catechist in local state schools for the past 30 years and since 1995 has been treasurer & chief timekeeper for the Narrabeen Lakes Amateur Swimming Club.

Congratulations Maureen.

Loud Shirt Night

The January Catenians meeting was a joint meeting with Pittwater and Warringah Circles. Catering Officer Gavin Williamson suggested we spice things up a bit by having a Loud Shirt Night with a prize for the loudest shirt.

Friendly rivalry between the circles has been a feature for many years. The competition was
judged by former Lakes Parish Priest visiting from Ireland, Father Paul Walsh.

190222 pittwater 2By some strange coincidence the winner selected by Father Paul, Warringah brother Tom Coleman, wore the exact same shirt as our current Lakes Parish Priest Father Robert Borg.

The photo to the right below features Pittwater brother Matt Young sporting an incredibly loud yellow shirt.

No reflection on the quality of the judging but Matt did observe that these parish priests stick together.

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Harbourside north take out the Griffith Virgona trophy

mosman 2aPhoto from 2011 shows Phil (left),  Peter and then Mosman President Ed van Riet. 

The annual joint meeting between Manly and Harbourside North Circles took place on 10 January 2019 at the Mosman Community Centre. The meeting included the annual Griffiths Virgona Shield trivia competition between the 2 Circles. 

The Griffiths Virgona Shield was instituted after the 2011 passing of then Manly President Peter Griffiths, the morning after that year’s joint meeting, and after Phil Virgona, the Mosman trivia quiz master, also died later that same year.

After winning the Trophy for the last 3 years, Manly Circle were gracious in defeat in 2019.

Harbourside North Circle visitor Lachlan McGoldrick won the Trophy. Lachlan topped the score sheets after a tense struggle, even answering the Catenian section of questions successfully.

IMG 8605a600Photo shows Helen Griffiths (left) and Penny Virgona with 2019 Trophy winner Lachlan McGoldrick

Accusations of a ring-in after Lachlan, a visiting gentleman, won the trophy, were hotly denied by the Harbourside North leadership, while Manly are already tuning up to take the Trophy back next year. 

After this year’s Harbourside North win, the Trophy score is evenly poised at 4 wins for each circle. 

It was as usual a night of great Catenian brotherhood enlivened by some friendly rivalry in the quest for the Trophy. That quest resumes in January 2020 at Manly. 

IMG 8611a800

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Phil Murray talks about the renewal workshops

190223 phil supple 150Pat SuppleThere were 30 members at our meeting in January, a 63 per cent attendance rate, including joint members.

The meeting approved the events program for 2019—20 and noted reports by Council members who were present.

After dinner, Pat Supple, told us a little about himself. It is always interesting to learn about members' backgrounds and their many talents.

Pat is married to Mary, whom most members will now have met, has a background in IT support and has had a close involvement with the St Vincent de Paul Society in Canberra.

Phil Murray then provided a presentation on the outcomes of the Australian renewal workshops and his thoughts on the way forward.

190223 phil murray 200Phil MurrayWorking group participants raised a wide range of issues, including who we are and what we stand for, membership, the support we offer to members and how we are perceived.

Among the many thought-provoking points Phil made were:

  • All of the workshops provided broad support for the adopted Australian mission statement: To contribute to the realisation of Christ's mission by strengthening the spiritual and family lives of Catholic laymen through the personal and collective example of faithbased friendship.
  • The mission statement should help to inform our membership, that is, those we are meant to serve.
  • By restricting membership of the Association to practising Catholic laymen, we are limiting our target membership to only about 1 in 26 (3.8 per cent) of Australian Catholics (see chart). However, our charism is not exclusive. St Paul's maxim of 'One in Christ Jesus' promotes inclusiveness among Christ's followers.
  • 190223 limiting catholic men 500
  • This suggests that our membership should be open to all baptised lay Catholics (men and women) and permanent deacons prepared to contribute to realisation of the Association's mission and aims and live by its spiritual values.
  • There is no reason why it should not also include non-Catholics, who are prepared to be guided, in conscience, by Catholic teaching and prepared to contribute to realisation of the Association's mission and aims and live by its spiritual values.
  • Having answered the question of those we are meant to serve, we then should ask, how do we best serve our members? This would also help to reduce other barriers to membership.
  • At present, we use a one-size-fits-all model for our basic services to members. But we could consider a 'whole of life' approach. Such an approach would suggest the need for a range of Circle types and/or intra-Circle sub-services, which respond to members' and prospective members' needs at various times in their lives:

For instance, we could offer four separate service types within a Circle for: families; young adults; adults; and seniors.

  • The relatively high cost of membership as a potential barrier to membership was a common theme raised in the workshops.
  • Workshop participants also considered that there is a lack of awareness of the Association among Australian Catholics and that more needed to be done to increase the profile of the Association and how we are perceived. Phil's personal view was that a motto, such as 'Friends for Life' would reflect the following three hallmarks of faith-based friendships: lifelong, practically supportive and spiritually supportive friendships. The logo could also be updated to better reflect what the Association is about, as follows:
  • updated logo
  • Where we are and where we should head is summarised in the following diagram:
  • whare we are
  • Moving from a total membership of around 920 members after 48 years of the Association in Australia, recognising the implications of our charism, we would adopt a more engaging and inclusive mission for the 21st Century.

A Draw in the big PMJ vs PBN bowls match

190223 canberrabowl2 400L to R: Mike Trevethan, Paul Weiss, Bob and Pat Wilson and Norm RussellFierce competition was the order of the day for the bowls match at the Labor Club, Stirling, on Tuesday, 22 January.

A big thank you to Paul Weiss for organising the event and ably captaining his team ‘PMJ’ which included Mike Trevethan and Jeff Cowley.

190223 canberrabowl1 300Pat Wilson in actionTheir opposition team, ‘PBN’, comprised Pat and Bob Wilson and Norm Russell.

Throughout the match, Peggy Russell and Therese Weiss provided ubiquitous cheering and authoritative advice for their respective teams.

The score leading into the final end was 10 (PMJ) to 9 (PBN) however, due to Bob Wilson’s use of his contentious ‘Wobbly Wobbert’ bowling technique, the final score was level.

A great outcome for a thoroughly enjoyable game.

Julian Flynn joined the party for a delightful lunch at the club afterwards.

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What do we need to do to survive for the next 10 years? - The Hills & Carlingford

At The Hills January joint meeting with Carlingford circle President (Carlingford) Warren Clarke, invited comment from all present on the question -

“What do we need to do to survive for the next 10 years”

Key discussion points were - 

  • Should membership be open to ladies
  • Bring along non practising Catholics
  • Make meetings/dinners more interesting 

Comment was varied, with agreement that action is needed now not words and concern that the membership is not fully aware or interested in the Association’s current position.

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Provincial Councillor Reports

City of Cairns Circle 349

All Circle Brothers are praying for Brother Giovanni he has now finished his Chemotherapy as it was making him so ill. He decided to see how it goes, Fr Neil, Deacon Brothers Rev Tony Moore and Rev Mark Cavicchiolo are visiting him regularly and administering The Sacrament of Holy Oils.
Report on recent Social activities:
Our Brothers had an amazing December meeting and a super dinner.

Two Brothers still in pipeline to be enrolled. One new Brother enrolled at our November meeting; Brother Martin Wajcicki. He was welcomed by all Brothers.


  • Province 21 President Brother Graham Short to join us at our February Meeting. Also joining us as a Guest Speaker is; Ex-Victorian Police Detective Ron Iddles who has had many programmes on TV about his work. 2. President's Mass to be arranged for the coming months. TBA 3. Clergy night also to be arranged. TBA 4. Lunch and get together of Brothers and their loved ones at Brother President Joe's place at Lake Tinaroo. Date TBA.


  • The City of Cairns Circle Brothers were recently visited by Cathy Spencer and Anne Chellingworth who both work for the Cairns Diocese. Cathy gave a talk about the up and coming Plenary 2020 and Anne gave a talk on the progress of the Youth Ministry in the Diocese and what our financial support and how it has been beneficial to their work.

Brother Peter Cash
Date: 24th January 2019

Canberra Circle 331


  • Br Phil Murray provided an excellent after-dinner presentation at the Circle's January meeting on the outcomes of the renewal workshops, potential implications for the Association and opportunities for continued Circle engagement in the renewal process.
  • A bowls event took place on 22 January, followed by lunch. Those who attended the event enjoyed it.


  • With the enrolment of one new member at our November meeting, the Circle now has 48 members, an increase of 3 members for the Catenian year.
  • The Circle is undertaking membership drives in two parishes (Weston Creek and Tuggeranong) in the first two weeks of February. The Parish Priest of the Weston Creek parish will also be the after-dinner speaker at the Circle's February meeting, a ladies night, and it is hoped that this will be an incentive for some parishioners to attend that Circle meeting as guests. Phil Murray has written a song to support the drive.


  • The Circle has finalised its events program for 2019–20.
  • Unfortunately, the weekend away scheduled for March is not proceeding because an organiser could not be found on this occasion.


  • Nominations have now been received for most Council positions for 2019–20. At this stage, no nomination has been received for the position of Vice-President.

John McWilliam
31 January 2019

Carlingford Circle 304

At our January meeting, jointly with brothers from Hills Circle, an animated discussion was held regarding increasing Circle Memberships and attendances .Besides approaching Friends of Catenians, a serious consideration was given to increasing the role of women-including membership. At our February Council meeting , we will debate further on the issue with an aim of arriving at a proposal to be presented to P21 Council for appraisal, etc.

Still stands at 28 --we briefly increased it to 29 over November/December 2018,. but our latest brother Deacon James Phelan passed away before Christmas. Our Membership Officer John O'Grady is still actively following up any leads he had. Of our 28 members , 1 brother is incapable of attending any meetings.

New Circle in Central Coast Carlingford Circle intends to actively support the formation of the new circle.

Hornsby Circle 317


  • Hornsby is finalising new Circle officers, but experiencing some difficulties in filling some positions.
  • Recent Social activities include Ladies Night for December meeting and joint meeting with Kuringai Circle in January.


  • We are looking a membership drive in Asquith and Berowra churches, but it is early days. On a provincial level, some brothers have volunteered to help on Central Coast membership drive.
  • Hornsby has had one resignation since last provincial meeting.


  • Fr Vincent from Hornsby Parish is coming to our March meeting.
  • Greg McNally, a Hornsby brother, is talking about Fr Tennyson at April meeting.
  • Discussion is proceeding about hosting Provincial mass in mid-year. Decision to be made on place, time and Priest with several suggestions already made.


  • Our major issue is filling Circle Officers with many aging and/or sick brothers.
  • We have a number of brothers who are unwell, have spent some time in hospital and not able to attend meeting regularly. These brothers make up about 25% of the total brothers.

Geoff Young
Provincial Councillor
24 January 2019

Ku-ring-gai Circle 284


On November 12, we held our 40th Anniversary Meeting at the Pymble Golf Club, in conjunction with the Province Truthful Jones Competition. The meeting was attended by 41 Brothers two Visiting Priests Rev Fr. David Ransom the Diocesan Administrator for Broken Bay and Rev. Fr. Greg Chee the Parish Priest of the Corpus Christi Parish St. Ives and 40 Visiting Brothers including our Provincial President Brother Graham Short.

On Saturday November 17, the Circle Mass for Deceased Brothers was conducted by Rev. Fr. Michael Mc Shane SJ at Canisius College, Pymble. The Mass was well attended and 24 of those attending also were at the Dinner at the Karoo Restaurant in St. Ives including Past Provincial President, Brother Brendan O'Connell. Fr. Mc Shane also was our guest at the dinner.

On December 12 the Circle Brothers entertained their Ladies at the Annual Christmas Party at the Landings.

Brother John White entertained Rev.Fr. Johnny Arattuklam from the Corpus Christi, St. Ives Parish at the Fourth Cricket Test Match between India and Australia in Sydney.

On January 14, we held a Joint Meeting with the Hornsby Circle at the St. Ives Club. The Brothers were entertained at the following dinner by a Music Quiz.


February 11 will be the occasion of the regular meeting of the Circle.
Feb 23 will see a group of our Brothers and wives attending the production "Senior Moments" at the Concourse Theatre, Chatswood, preceded by Dinner.
March 11 Ladies Night, will be the occasion of our regular meeting of the Circle followed by a dinner with our wives.


On November 4 and 5 a presentation was made At Sacred Heart Pymble Parish and on November 11 to the Youth Group of that Parish.

A presentation was made to the clergy of the Chatswood Parish on November 13.


Our Brothers are spending increasing time on welfare matters following up and visiting the increasing number of our sick. Whilst this is part of our ministry it is worrying sign of the increasing age of the Circle membership.

Justin Gardener

Manly Circle 322


  • Changes to Circle officers
    • Michael Guy is the incoming President and Peter Williams has agreed to undertake the Vice President position
    • Paul Pearson will be the incoming Provincial Councillor

Report on recent Social activities

November Meeting

President Gary O'Sullivan spoke about his visit, with his wife Michelle, to the Australian WW1 Battlefield sites in both France and Belgium. His presentation was excellent, with slides, videos and the atmosphere was emotionally charged to wards the end of the talk

December Meeting

President's Mass and Dinner at Manly Golf Club were well attended and enjoyed by Brothers and partners

January Meeting

We joined our Harbourside North Circle for a Joint Meeting and to contest the Annual Griffiths / Virgona Trivia competition. Due to their lack of recent success, HSN had scoured the Lower North Shore in search of talent to challenge MC. The excellent quiz, devised by Mike McEvoy, obviously suited the first time visitors Lachlan McGoldrick and Daniel. I'm delighted to report Lachlan won the competition easily with Daniel a far second. Should they ultimately join HSN they will be serious adversaries in future Trivia nights, whilst halving the average age of HSN brothers.

Could be a membership strategy other Circles could emulate?


  • Proposals for Circle membership expansion
    • Manly supported a Men's Breakfast on a recent Saturday morning. Two attendees indicated that they had some interest in joining and they will soon be invited to a meeting soon
    • Planning has started on a Men's Retreat scheduled later in 2019

Changes to membership since the last Council meeting – incoming and outgoing.


  • Any forthcoming events to publicise to other Circles and in Province 21 monthly Newsletter, P21 website and Eastern Link


We will be having a Forum at our February meeting to discuss the outcomes of recent discussion on Plenary 2020 submission and outcomes of Renewal Workshops

John McCarney,
Manly Circle
Provincial Councillor

Parramatta Circle 333

25 brothers. No current prospects.

Problem is fewer than half ever turn up for circle dinners with 4 Brothers on a 'permanent apology' list because of distance or ill health.

There is a plan for a membership drive at Westmead Parish.

Circle Council, 2019/2020:
Having difficulty filling several positions e g Secretary & Treasurer.

Bursary Fund:
Parramatta Circle Council has noted that much of its membership is a different demographic from other Circles.

Many are on fixed and limited incomes and the only way Parramatta could meet a $20 levy would be to add it to the annual fee, as the annual finances over the past two years have been break even or small deficits and leave no room for a donation of $500 to Province.

The view is that adding $20 to our annual fee would be a burden for some of our membership.

Circle Council recognizes an obligation, particularly in view of the volume of funds channelled to local recipients over the past few years and some form of voluntary contribution from those of the Circle membership who can afford it might be workable.

This will be discussed further at the Council meeting on Wednesday.

Ed Van Riet

Pittwater Circle 312

New Circle Officers for 19/20 now settled


Christmas Ladies Night was an excellent success
Joint Meeting with our Warringah Brothers held in January
Forthcoming Speakers at future meetings to include...

  • John Devitt (Olympic Gold Medal Winner)
  • Kristina Kennelly (Politics) to speak on current issues with the Catholic Church

Brother Basil Hughes passed
Resignation due to Ill Health(1)

Our Kupit Shield Golf Day is to be held on the 17th February. This is where our Ku-Ring-gai and Pittwater Brothers join together for a great day, which has been in operation every year since 1989.


Our Circle is still keen to have a twinning arrangement with an Indian Circle
We are also KEEN to Share with other circles any Impressive Speakers they may know of for the Futures...

Peter McDonald

City of Sydney Circle 263


  • Unopposed nominations have been received for all Circle Officers for 2019-20. The Circle Council has decided that the number of infirm brothers is now such that Welfare Officer should be added to the range of Circle Officers
  • Several brothers from the Circle have continued to provide support to brother Provincial Membership Officer as Joint Members of The Shire Group or visitors to its meetings..


  • The Annual Christmas Function was held in lieu of a Circle meeting on the first Wednesday in December. Brother President welcomed the Headmaster of St Joseph's College, Hunters Hill, Dr Chris Hayes, as the Guest Speaker. Chris was accompanied by his wife Margaret, who is from the political and rugby league family of Frank Stewart. Chris is an ex-student of St Patricks College, Strathfield, where he was a classmate of Circle brothers. John Crawford and Tony Stagnitta. The Function was well attended and welcomed their guests enthusiastically.
  • The annual joint meeting with the City of Parramatta Circle was held on the 16th January. It was an excellent night with a good attendance with eight brothers arriving from Parramatta. We also had visitors in Bros Brendan O'Connell (Hornsby & Harbourside North Circles), one of the founding brothers of the City of Sydney Circle, and Bro. Brendan Mulcahy (Shrewsbury Circle in the UK). Brendan is a regular visitor during the Australian summer, escaping winter in the UK to visiting his son and family in Sydney.


  • Brother Jim (James) Smyth, a joint member with Manly Circle, passed to Eternal Life on 13 December 2018. A number of brothers attended a Requiem Mass to celebrate Jim's life held at St Cecilia's Catholic Church, Balgowlah on Thursday 20 December, 2018.
  • The Circle was saddened by the death of Marian Overs, wife of Brother Ray Overs, a founding member of the City of Sydney Circle. Marion had been a regular attendee at Ladies Nights until recent years. She died on the 26th December 2018 at the age of 90. Her husband Ray (Raymund) was a Catenian in Plymouth Circle before coming to Australia in the mid 1960s. He helped in the formation of the City of Sydney Circle and was the second President of the Circle. He was always a dedicated Catenian and promoted the Association. Brothers and ladies joined in a Mass celebrating Marion's life at Saint Columba's Church, Leichhardt on the 4th January 2019.


  • A joint meeting with Harbourside North Circle has been planned to coincide with the face to face meeting of the Australian National Council.

Peter Tilbrook
Date: 30 January 2019

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Province 21 Events for 2019

4 February 2019 Provincial Council Meeting No 129 Broken Bay Diocese office Pennant Hills
26 February 2019 Little John Mug

The Hills Circle
6.45pm for 7.15pm start,
St Joseph's Centre , 64 MacKillop Drive, Baulkham Hills
Catering Officer
Paul Despoges 0418 430 464, pauldespoges@bigpond.com

15 March 2019 Provincial Golf Day Muirfield Golf Club
Organiser: Stim Robinson 
(15 Locksley Cl, Wahroonga, 2076)
Email: stimrobinson@hotmail.com
Mob: 0401 058 329
10 April 2019 ANC Meeting Sydney
29 April 2019 AGM and Council Meeting No 130 Broken Bay Diocese office Pennant Hills
22 July 2019 Council Meeting No 131 Broken Bay Diocese office Pennant Hills
3 August 2019 Province Mass 5pm at Wahroonga hosted by Hornsby Circle -
Catering Officer -
Ray Attard 9945 0744 rayattard5@gmail.com
21 August 2019 O'Connell Cup Manly Circle
Meeting at Manly Golf Club, at 6:30 for 7:00pm.
Catering Officer -
Romano Di Donato romlaw1@tpg.com.au or 0407 153 626
28 October 2019 Council Meeting No 132 Broken Bay Diocese office Pennant Hills
2 October 2019 Truthful Jones

City of Sydney

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The Letters section gives an opportunity for any local issues to be raised, discussed and perhaps even resolved.

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Write a letter to p21.newsletter@thecatenians.org.au

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