The Year of Mercy reminds us to welcome the stranger and Pope Francis teaches us that “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.” One man who proved a small act can make a massive difference is Francesco Tuccio, a carpenter from the small Italian Island of Lampedusa. On a cold night, three years ago a boat sailed from Africa trying to reach Europe. The boat was over-filled with over 500 refugees who were fleeing Eritrea and Somalia. Some aboard were Eritrean Christians who were trying to escape religious persecution. Somewhere en route, the boat caught fire, capsized and sank; 311 people perished. Inhabitants of Lampedusa helped save the lives of 155 others. So heartbroken was Mr Tuccio when he met some of the survivors at his local church, he wanted to help but had nothing to give. The only thing he could think to give them was a symbol of hope. He collected the broken pieces of wood that had washed ashore from the remainder of their boat and made the Lampedusa Cross. He offered this simple, handmade cross to the survivors of the disaster as a sign of hope, solidarity and love. He gave a cross to Pope Francis to carry at a memorial service and a cross was recently carried through the great Door of Mercy at St Peter’s Basilica. CAFOD, together with Caritas Social Action and the Jesuit Refugee Service, has offered all Cathedrals in England and Wales a Lampedusa Cross so they can display it. Inspired by the Year of Mercy, people across England and Wales have begun to act in solidarity with this refugee crisis. Small acts such as writing messages of hope to be shared with refugees, to organising pilgrimages to reflect on our response to the refugee crisis, demonstrate how through our faith we can stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters. CAFOD, alongside partner organisations, is working internationally to provide practical help to the refugees. In March 2016 we pledged £100,000 to Caritas Hellas to support scaling up their emergency aid response, which will also include installing basic chemical toilets and shower facilities at Idomeni refugee camp closest to the border of Greece and FYR Macedonia. We are also calling on the UK government to accept a proportionate amount of refugees from both inside the EU and beyond. We are calling on the government to establish safe and legal routes so that those fleeing persecution, war and poverty can find a harbour where they are welcomed to safety. We have created resources to help you organise your own pilgrimage in your parish, school or group, or use as part of any other Year of Mercy pilgrimage. During the pilgrimage, there is an opportunity to write messages for hope for refugees. To find out more, order or download the pilgrimage reflection and cards for your messages of hope, visit cafod.org.uk/yearofmercy. Photograph courtesy of Caritas Internationalis
Archives for May 2016
Amoris Laetitia – At their recent meeting in Leeds the bishops of England and Wales unanimously agreed a substantial resolution about Amoris Laetitia and you can read it here http://www.catholicnews.org.uk/bishops-plenary-april-2016. The national project for Marriage and Family Life will be preparing a resource to support parish groups in reading and reflecting on the exhortation – slowly.
A fantastic evening was enjoyed by many recently at the Platinum Suite, Bramall Lane when BeVox, a contemporary, community choir entertained with a powerful blend of voices in aid of St Wilfrid’s Centre. The fundraising evening, led by Kevin Bradley, Director of St Wilfrid’s Centre, was a great success and raised over £9,000 for the Centre. Tony Currie assisted in running an auction and the raffle was drawn by Chris Steer, Vice President of Sheffield United, who said, “Although I support many charities, this is the one which is closest to my heart. St Wilfrid’s is a wonderful charity which does fantastic work in Sheffield.” Kevin was also honoured to receive a surprise award that evening from Sheffield United Football Club, which was presented in recognition of all the work he has done for St Wilfrid’s Centre. The Award was presented to Kevin (pictured below centre) by Vice President Chris Steer (right) and Operations Director, Dave McCarthy.
On Sunday, 10 April, Kate Kelly, Headteacher at Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School, Hillsborough, Sheffield, along with her husband, Phil and Steve Moran, Learning Mentor at Sacred Heart School, took part in the 40th Greater Manchester Marathon. This was the first marathon which Steve and Kate had ever done and so it was a huge physical and mental achievement. The trio undertook this demanding event to help raise funds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Both Steve and Kate have disabled children who have benefited greatly from the care provided by the Children’s Hospital and they were keen to give something back. Kate, Phil and Steve have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support thy have received from family, friends and the entire community of Sacred Heart. Together, they have raised over £1,400 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital. An amazing accomplishment for all of them, but Kate isn’t planning to stop here – in September she will be taking on the Race for Life half marathon at Clumber Park for Cancer Research UK and, in October, she will be taking part in the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London, in aid of the Meningitis Trust.
Over two hundred pupils from twenty-eight of our Diocesan schools attended the Good Shepherd Celebration. This was held at Mother of God Church, Sheffield. Bishop Ralph received generous cheques which had been raised by the many fund raising efforts which took place during Lent. All the money goes towards Hallam Caring Services projects for families. Stuart Hanlon, Co-ordinator, expressed sincere thanks to all concerned in this annual appeal, which contributes in no small way to the maintenance and development of these essential services. A moving reflection on the virtue of helping our neighbour at a time of need was presented by the children from St Wilfrid’s Primary School, Sheffield. As usual vast amounts of soft drinks and biscuits were enjoyed in the Parish Centre. Sincere thanks to all those who made it such a happy occasion. Pictured above, Bishop Ralph receives a cheque presented by one of the Diocesan schools with Stuart Hanlon.
Friday, 15 April saw one hundred and sixty people gather at the St Marie’s Cathedral for a Mass in celebration of married life. Thirty-seven couples, celebrating significant anniversaries amounting to 1,564 years, affirmed the vows they had made on their wedding day. Their names had been put forward by their parish priests. It was also an occasion to commission and acknowledge the twenty-one married couples who present the diocesan marriage preparation programme (Preparing for a Lifetime Together) to engaged couples. For Frances and Jane Quinn it was a very special occasion as fifty years previously they had walked back down the aisle at St Marie’s for the first time as husband and wife. Jane said “It has made my day.” Frances and Jane Quinn with Bishop Ralph at the celebration Mass
Ken Barry, Secretary of the Barnsley Catenians 205 tells us, “If one checked the music charts on 11 April 1966 it was obviously not a good day to marry. Number 1 was the Spencer Davis Group and ‘Somebody Help Me’ whilst number 2 was the Walker Brothers with ‘The Sun Ain’t Going to Shine Anymore’! However, Peter and Lesley Brannan ignored the omens and married anyway. It was a good job they did because it meant friends and family enjoyed two special occasions with them on their Golden Wedding Anniversary. Firstly at 10 am Fr Damien Humphries celebrated Mass at Holy Rood Church, when Peter and Lesley received both Papal and Nuptial Blessings as well as renewing their vows. Then everyone reconvened at Shaw Lane post Barnsley Catenian’s April meeting for a meal and to shower the couple with love and gifts. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful day led by a wonderful couple. Here’s to the next 50!
There is increased interest in this July’s Living Theology weekend in York, (29th-31st). This year the bookings are up, perhaps as people are looking forward to enjoying the results of the major refurbishments to the facilities at the Bar Convent and visiting their Living Heritage exhibition. The speakers at Living Theology are nationally known, talking on topics of crucial and up-to-date importance. Fr Nicholas King SJ, who has published his own “fresh” translation of the Greek Bible will be there. He will be exploring the biblical background to Catholic Social Teaching, referring to Human Dignity, to Solidarity and to the Option for the Poor. Fr John Moffat SJ will continue this theme by talking about the Common Good, including Pope Francis’s vision in Laudato Si, and in addition reflecting on ‘Ethics for Christians’ in the 21st century. The third speaker, Fr Michael Smith SJ, will discuss the ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (scientist, priest and mystic), and also talk on the ‘Love of God’ as understood in St John’s First Letter. For more information, please visit www.livingtheology.org.uk and visit the York pages, or telephone Patricia Egerton on 01642 645732. Early booking is advised.
BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD Take time out for a Quiet Day Last September, Sacred Heart Church at Hillsborough held a Quiet Day, offering people to opportunity to reflect on the themes promoted by Pope Francis – the joy of the Gospel, our care for the earth and the mercy of God. The mercy of God has been the focus of attention in our prayer and action over the last few months, and we intend to hold another Quiet Day on Saturday, 9 July, to develop our relationship with God and our neighbour. We will start at 9.30am with registration and coffee in Sacred Heart Hall, in the school playground (access from Ripley Street). Then the first session will take place in church at 10am, with prayer and introduction by Fr Shaun and Deacon Tony. Quiet time will follow for half an hour, and people will choose where to go on the premises, the church, the presbytery, the memorial garden, according to their choice of prayer style and leadership, or quietly wander round. Fr Michael will give a talk in the next session in church; followed by another quiet half hour, and then we will have lunch in the hall – bring your own food but drinks are provided. Finally we will have a celebration of the Eucharist, an encounter with the mercy of God through word and sacrament, finishing at 2pm. Everyone is welcome to come, whether a Quiet Day is familiar to them or whether it would be a new experience. There’s no charge, but we would like people to book so that we know how many to expect, roughly. You can do this by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 0114 2343580, leaving your name and contact details. Quiet Day at Sacred Heart Forbes Road, Hillsborough Saturday, 9 July
In last month’s lead article Bishop Ralph began by explaining that in the months he has been our Bishop he has visited all parts of the Diocese, celebrating the work of priests and people. Bishop Ralph’s visit to St Joseph’s, Retford reflects the diverse work of a parish community. Bishop Ralph was welcomed by Fr John Nwadike and the Parish over the weekend of 26th to 28th February. On Friday Bishop Ralph visited the school and a care home. On Saturday he visited the Hospice and one parishioner and her family were delighted to receive the last Rites from Bishop Ralph, before she passed away peacefully. Her funeral was held at St Joseph’s on Friday, 18 March. Fr John and Bishop Ralph paid home visits to the housebound. The Bishop concelebrated the Saturday evening and Sunday Masses with Fr John. He congratulated the altar servers on the collection of money and food for the homeless, arising from their sponsored walk in Clumber Park. Parish priest, Fr John, who is a Vincentian Missionary, had received the sad news that six Vincentian seminarians, including two of his ex-pupils, had been killed in a bus crash in Nigeria. The Bishop’s sermon on hope despite bad things happening to good people – taking Jesus and the Apostles for example – could not be more relevant.