Vera Ogden has retired after many years as a social worker in Hallam. Stuart Hanlon, Co-ordinator of Hallam Caring Services, thanked Vera for her dedicated service and presented her with a gift and flowers on behalf of the Schools and Community Team in Hallam.
Archives for July 2016
St Marie’s Cathedral celebrated the ¡Hola Sheffield! Festival in Sheffield’s Winter Garden. The festival was a one-day family-friendly free event which showcased the unique cultural expressions of St Marie’s Spanish-speaking communities. It also promoted the understanding between different groups in Sheffield. The festival was a huge success with more than 1800 people attending throughout the day. “It was a really fun and uplifting event. It was amazing to see so many people chatting, dancing and sharing experiences. Visitors were also extremely interested in finding out more about the Cathedral and its communities, and I think the festival can be considered a milestone in St Marie’s heritage project,” said Laura Claveria, Heritage Engagement and Learning Officer at St Marie’s Cathedral. The programme included family-friendly crafts where children created and decorated their own Mexican sugar skulls, Amate paintings and Spanish fans, and got fabulous face paintings. In the afternoon Son de America, a Latin-American folk dance group, delighted and entertained children and adults alike with their vibrant choreographies and colourful costumes. This was followed by the live music of Los Lads who got people of all ages dancing to Latin rhythms. The festival was rounded off in the evening with a classical Spanish guitar concert by Andrew Clegg at St Marie’s Cathedral. Andrew Clegg presented his new album ‘Tiger and the Lily’ in which he takes elements from Flamenco and traditional guitar to create a new exciting fusion of sound. “It was a truly unforgettable day. I can only say a big thankful to all the visitors who joined us and all the volunteers who made this event possible,” added Laura. Visitors to the Winter Garden also had the chance to see the preview of a fascinating exhibition on the Spanish-speaking communities of St Marie’s which is currently displayed at the Catholic Cathedral (until 16 September). The exhibition explores the personal stories and experiences of this community in both their countries of origin and Sheffield, their new home. For further information on St Marie’s events and activities visit http://www.stmariecathedral.org/.
Pope Francis has invited all Christians to make a pilgrimage to mark the Year of Mercy. CAFOD, as part of their campaign activities for the Year of Mercy, encourages people to take part in a pilgrimage focussing on the refugee crisis, and has produced a variety of material for those wanting to organise a pilgrimage. An important symbol of the refugee used by CAFOD is the Lampedusa Cross. A Sicilian carpenter, Francesco Tuccio, has been making rough crosses from the wreckage of a boat carrying refugees that sank off the island of Lampedusa. Some of these refugees were rescued, but many drowned. Francesco offered his crosses to survivors as a symbol of their rescue and a sign of hope for a new life in their new countries. He has also given one to Pope Francis, and there is one in the British Museum. They are a widely recognised symbol of the 2015-16 European Refugee Crisis. I planned a cycling pilgrimage from Iona, off the west coast of Scotland, to Lindisfarne off the coast of Northumbria. Irish monks founded a monastery on Iona in AD 563, and it was from there that St Aidan set out in AD 635 to establish a monastery on Lindisfarne to spread Irish Christianity to Northumbria and, from there, to other parts of northern England. My preference for long pilgrim journeys is by bicycle rather than walking, and I planned about six days for the journey. CAFOD supplied me with two Lampedusa Crosses, one to be left in the House of Prayer on Iona, and one to travel with me to be left at St Aidan’s Church on Lindisfarne, on arrival at the end of the pilgrim journey. Sr Jean Lawson of Cnoc a Chalmain (House of Prayer) on Iona and Sr Tessa of St Aidan’s Church on Lindisfarne were contacted, and both were happy to accept the Lampedusa crosses. The link between pilgrimage and the long, arduous journeys of the refugees fleeing from war, persecution and poverty is clear, but the physical and psychological discomforts are of a very different scale. Although the pilgrimage is self-chosen rather than a necessity for survival, of a much shorter duration and carried out in far less arduous conditions, it may lead to empathy with the physical hardships endured by refugees, and better understanding of the pain and uncertainties faced on the journey. The pilgrimage journey offers time for reflection, prayer, and careful consideration of what is an appropriate Christian response to the plight of refugees coming to Europe. As Pope Francis wrote: “We ourselves need to see, and then enable others to see, that migrants and refugees are brothers and sisters to be welcomed respected and loved.” The pilgrimage started on Iona where we were welcomed to Sunday Mass at the House of Prayer. At the end of Mass we were asked to say a few words about the Lampedusa Cross and our intended pilgrim journey from Iona to Lindisfarne, before formally handing over the first cross for display in the church. Information cards explaining the significance of the cross in this Year of Mercy, together with the CAFOD cards of hope, were left on display close to the cross. The cards will be available for visitors to the House of Prayer to complete. The route taken from Iona was across Mull, ferry to Oban and the coastal route south to Arran. A steep ride across Arran to the ferry for Ardrossan. From Ardrossan the route followed the Irvine valley to Kilmarnock, before going over the hills to Lanark. The Clyde valley was then followed before crossing to the Tweed valley, following the Tweed to Coldstream before heading to the coast and riding over the causeway to Lindisfarne. We were met by Sr Tessa in St Aidan’s Church where we handed over the second Lampedusa cross. The cross will be displayed in the church and used by Sr Tessa as part of the services she provides for pilgrim groups visiting Lindisfarne. It will also be the focus for the CAFOD pilgrimage to Lindisfarne later in the year. What did the cycling pilgrimage of 380 miles achieve? Firstly, it provided time for thought, reflection and prayer on the Christian response to the refugees seeking asylum in Europe. Secondly, it has left a legacy in the churches on Iona and Lindisfarne in the form of the Lampedusa crosses, providing a stimulus for many other pilgrims visiting these holy places to reflect on the words of Pope Francis, that the refugee crisis is an opportunity for us to put some basic Christian principles into practice. Finally, it made us appreciative of the efforts of those early Celtic monks in bringing Christianity to Northern Britain, and their legacy that continues to influence us today. Martin Desforges
Bishop Ralph Heskett recently visited St Hugh’s Parish, Newbold, Chesterfield. He confirmed eighteen young people. He was assisted by Fr Joseph Okeke, Parish Priest. It was a very memorable occasion enhanced by some wonderful singing and responses from the young people, and further enhanced by loud claps of thunder and flashes of lightning throughout the service.
Bishop Ralph – Year of Mercy – Sheffield Catholic Cathedral. Dear Reader A couple of months ago I wrote a little reflection on the Corporal Works of Mercy and promised to write something on the Spiritual Works of Mercy. Well, at long last, here it is! Earlier in the year Pope Francis addressed the Assembly […]
The pupils of St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, Sheffield began Refugee Week with a whole school assembly. Then Rodrigo from the charity “City of Sanctuary” spoke to each of the classes. The overall theme of the children’s work was “WELCOME”. The children explored the journey of someone who is seeking asylum, through various curriculum areas and then created a final piece of art. The art work then went on display in the Winter Gardens, Sheffield.
Barnsley Pals Remembered As part of the national commemorations to mark the centenary of the start of the Battle of the Somme, Barnsley Catenians held a Mass in Holy Rood Church. Brothers from across Province 3 were there to remember the sacrifice made by the Pals/Chums battalions raised in the area, such as those of Barnsley, Grimsby and Sheffield. Mass was concelebrated by Fr Damian Humphries and Fr Shaun Smith, with Deacons Tony Strike and Derek Walton. Tony’s homily, linking the readings of the day to the Somme through reconciliation, was particularly poignant. Mass ended with the Last Post, a two minute silence and Reveille during which the banners of the Airborne Comrades Associate, Prince of Wales own Regiment of Yorkshire and the RAFA were displayed. After adjourning to Shaw Lane to dine the evening finished with a talk by Vince Donlan which he had entitled “Barnsley Pals Remembered”. It was a fascinating yet sombre end to a beautiful evening of commemoration, appreciated warmly by all who heard it. Vince ended his talk with a quote from a Barnsley Pal, “A wealth of hopes, dreams and memories left in the mud.”
Solemn Mass for the Dead of the Battle of the Somme On 1 July, on the precise centenary day of the start of the Battle of the Somme, a Commemoration Mass for the Dead was offered at St Marie’s Cathedral. Fr Chris Posluszny celebrated the Mass. A choir of more than 40 sang and added hugely to the solemnity of the occasion. Under Hugh Finnigan’s direction, members of the Diocesan choir, supplemented by members of the Eckington Singers, sang Faure’s Requiem. Kieran Fallon, director of the visiting singers played the organ. They also sang ‘Abide with me’, ‘Lead kindly light’, and John Bell’s ‘What shall we pray for those who died’. At the end of Mass, the deputy mayor of Sheffield, Mrs Anne Murphy, laid a wreath at the World War One memorial by the entrance to St Marie’s (pictured on the right). The Order of Service contained introductory information about “The Somme” and local losses written by I Pearson of All Saints School. On 1 July 1916, some 60,000 British soldiers fell, dead or wounded. The Pals Brigades, notably, for us, the Sheffield Pals and Barnsley Pals, suffered huge losses and never recovered as fighting forces from that day. The battle dragged on until November 1916, before moving on to Passchendale and the remaining two years of bloody warfare. Deacon Bill Burleigh assisted Fr Chris and preached at the Mass. “We have come here to pray for the dead, to unite our prayer with Christ’s sacrifice, to remember and let our remembering spur us forwards to strive for peace. “ Tonight’s first reading took me to the mind of any soldier expecting death, any wounded man lying in mud, anyone of faith close to death. ‘Surely the Lord’s mercies are not over, his deeds of faithful love not exhausted… It is good to wait for the Lord to save’. “And we do. Both before our death and, most vividly for us to recall tonight, after death. Tonight we pray for the dead of the Somme who wait for the fullness of life in God’s presence. “What do I mean? Blessed John Henry Newman clearly expressed our Catholic faith in his poem about a man he called Gerontius, dying, dead and waiting for God to save him, waiting for himself to be ready to enter heaven. Relying on his own and the prayers of those he left behind on earth. “Gerontius asks the angel walking him into heaven, “Why have I no fear of meeting him. All my earthly life the thought of death and judgement were to me terrible.” “It is because you did fear, that now you need not fear” the angel reassured him. As they walk the angel continues, “And now we have come to the threshold.” “Judgement is now near, for we have come into the veiled presence of God.” “I hear voices that I left on earth,” says Gerontius. Yes, he is told, what you can hear are the prayers of those praying for you. And yet, the good Gerontius knows he is not ready, not prepared or good enough for the glory of heaven, the banquet of the Lamb, the fullness of life in his presence. He chooses to cleanse himself, knowing his imperfections, to pray, to use his newfound rest to praise and sing of God’s love. The angel assures him, “Swiftly shall pass thy night of trial here. I will come and wake you then on the morrow.” Gerontius will wake ready for heaven. “Countless men who were killed by the Somme, like Gerontius, know their imperfections, their unreadiness for the totality of heaven. We assist them with our prayer tonight as we pray for those killed one hundred years ago today, those killed outright, those who languished and died later in the mud or back in the trenches and the few in the field hospitals over the next days, weeks and months. We pray, too, for those who survived the six months of the bloody attrition of the Somme and those who eventually came home to live and die later with their memories of what they endured, suffered and did during the dark months and years that followed. We pray for the British, the allied and the German dead. “At 7 o’clock on the morning of this day 100 years ago, along a 15 mile line of trenches, 100,000 British soldiers waited, knowing they might face death, but confident that the week-long bombardment of German trenches will have killed or forced into retreat the enemy. The Sheffield Pals Brigade was at the extreme north end of the battlefield, with Barnsley Pals and the Accrington Pals close by on their right. Men from Chesterfield and Doncaster were further along. What prayers or confident words of swagger and joking were spoken, we do not know. Maybe sheer silence under orders. “At 7.30am the whistles sounded and the first waves went over the top. The atrocious weather for days meant leaving the trenches was, in a way, some relief. The word was that victory was assured and they would walk to decimated, silent German trenches. “Within minutes the first wave of the Pals fell to the ground, as planned, to let a final wave of mortar and artillery whistle over them. All around them was a smokescreen. White lines had been laid during the night to direct the men to the gaps in the tangled barbed wire defences. But the breeze was clearing the smoke and the white lines had disappeared in the mud. Men were falling under a hail of machine gun fire that had no end. The second and third and fourth waves met the same onslaught. “By midday in the Pals brigades, and all along the 15 mile narrow strip of No Man’s Land, men lay dead, dying or wounded. Of the 100,000 British soldiers deployed that day , 60,000 had fallen – 19,000 dead and near […]
During Mental Health Awareness Week recently St Wilf’s challenged a team from Mental Health Action Group to a pool competition. Unfortunately, they proved more than a match for the team from St Wilfrid’s Centre and won the tournament 5-0! Well done Mental Health Action Group! St Wilf’s also welcomed staff and clients from Together, Westbourne House and South Yorkshire Housing Association for afternoon tea.
Parishioners and pupils in the Hallam Diocese have raised an astounding £20,000 for CAFOD’s Lenten appeal. Catholics across the UK were asked to help ‘turn on the taps’ throughout Lent in a bid to provide clean and safe water for those who live without this vital resource. CAFOD volunteer, Grazyna Swales, who is a parishioner of St Francis, Crosspool, Sheffield once again organised the St Francis Dance Group’s annual dance show to raise an amazing £4,000 for the CAFOD Refugee Appeal. There were four performances of the show over three days and this year included a ‘Strictly’ competition section where the audience could vote for the best pair of dancers. The dance group is made up of 14 ladies and is led and choreographed by dance teacher Sarah Bennett. Sarah said, “The refugee situation is so terrible but it has been great to do something which will help in some way. The ladies are a pleasure to work with and it’s an event where everyone has fun.” As well as this event, St Francis’ parish pastoral council agreed to match all donations made to CAFOD via the Fast Day collection. The collection realised £5,500. These two amounts mean that St Francis Parish has raised a total of £9,500 during Lent which was doubled by the UK Government’s Department for International Development to provide clean and safe water across the world. Many other parishes and schools across the Diocese raised funds during the Lent appeal, including members of CAFOD’s Young Leadership Programme, which works with sixth form students in the Hallam Diocese. One group from St Mary’s High School, Chesterfield hosted a CAFOD week where they held activities to raise both money and awareness among the whole school community about CAFOD’s work on water projects. CAFOD’s Community Participation Coordinator in Hallam, Anne Prior, said, “Being able to turn on a tap and have clean water is something we normally take for granted. That’s why we’re so grateful to everyone who has raised money for our Lent appeal, helping families to access this basic right and empowering girls to get an education and fulfil their potential. It’s brilliant to think that their efforts will have doubled the impact with the UK Government matching the money raised.” These funds will enable the taps to be turned on in villages around the world by repairing or providing water pumps and training in order to maintain them. It will also fund hygiene programmes, education in sanitation and the building of latrines. Matched funds from the UK Government will enable access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene programmes to over 300,000 people in Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Nick Hurd said, “It’s fantastic that parishes in Hallam ‘turned on the taps’ this Easter for CAFOD’s Lent appeal. By doubling every pound raised, together we can ensure that 300,000 people, especially young girls, can go to school rather than walking miles to collect water, can be protected from disease and live healthy, productive lives.”