As part of St Joseph’s celebration of 100 years, flower arrangers from the parish and other local Churches came together to celebrate this special occasion. The festival provided a unique opportunity to express St Joseph’s history through a variety of different floral tributes. The children from St Joseph’s school made a lovely model of the church and were very proud their work was included. Other arrangers displayed a range of topical tributes representing the local Polish, Italian and Irish Communities. Many exhibits characterised Justice and Peace, the Music and Caring groups, the historic mining community and the Lourdes pilgrimages. In addition, members of other local Churches made excellent floral designs for the festival. Many parishioners gave generously of their time and effort in preparing a wonderful weekend of flowers on 7-8 May, when the church doors were opened to all members of the local community. A number of volunteers took visitors around the display retelling the story of the 100 years parish history. The festival was very well attended throughout the weekend and visitors were invited to make a donation towards the Remembrance Garden. Margaret O’ Rourke said, “There was a lot to do but we had an army of volunteers who worked hard and knew exactly what they had to do.” Gratitude is expressed to so many, especially Maria Paton, Mary Gilgrass, Diane Harron, Chris Parrott, Marie Cape, Pat Henstock, Shauna Hilton and Siobhan. There was also an arrangement to celebrate 45 years of Dinnington Floral Arts Society. One of the former founders, Marjorie Holling, was remembered as a source of inspiration and guidance for all those currently volunteering as parish flower arrangers.
Archives for June 2016
Every year, Holy Trinity School, Barnsley chooses charities to support, as part of their Lenten Fundraising Challenge. This year, the school chose Barnsley Hospice and pupils undertook a variety of fundraising activities. Year 6 pupils came up with the brilliant idea of a sponsored walk from their school in Athersley to the Town Hall and back in aid of Barnsley Hospice. They were equipped with buckets to collect money along the way and were accompanied by their teacher, Lee Mullen and teaching assistant, Carol Eckford. They raised a fantastic amount through donations and sponsorship and the pupils presented a huge cheque for £1809.34 to Sarah Hattersley from Barnsley Hospice at a special assembly in school. Class teacher, Lee Mullen said, “I’m very proud of the children and everything they’ve achieved. The sponsored walk was their idea and the money they’ve raised is phenomenal.”
St Wilfrid’s biannual football tournament between St Wilfrid’s Owls and St Wilfrid’s Blades took place recently over at the Umix Centre. The game was a close fought battle, with the Blades eventually claiming the trophy with a score of 3-2.
The new residential project ‘Home at St Wilfrid’s’ moved one step nearer its completion date when Henry Boot Construction Ltd held a ‘Topping Out Ceremony’ on the roof of the new building. Kevin Bradley, Director of St Wilfrid’s, whose inspiration began the building project said, “The lads from Henry Boot Construction have made our dream come true. They have carried out the build in a professional and expert manner, which has been tempered with good humour, cooperation and great team spirit.” ‘Home at St Wilfrid’s’ will provide 20 brand new apartments for homeless and vulnerable people who will stay for up to two years whilst attending the Centre to learn the skills they will need to enable them to live independently. The project will be a flagship for Sheffield and could become a model for the rest of society.
Sunday Mass As we look back on the great feast of Easter Fr Evangelist Ohaejesi, Parish Priest of St Joseph’s, Wath-upon-Dearne, helps us to reflect on regular worship as means to strengthen our faith by focusing on the experience of Thomas. Jesus rose from the dead contrary to his enemies’ and even friend’s expectation. On a number of occasions during his ministry, he foretold his resurrection, but his followers did not understand. Many of them who saw what happened on Calvary thought it was the end of him and decided to leave the Jesus’ project, some in anger, others in disappointment. Why are many well-meaning Christians so uncommitted to attending regular Sunday church services? The answer can be given in one word: doubt or crisis of faith. People today, like people of all times, do have a hunger for God. They are searching for the meaning of life. But they doubt whether the answer to these existential questions can be found within the four walls of the Church. For this reason they are more disposed to spend time in social action, in work and in intellectual pursuit rather than in Church worship. One of the gospel’s we hear during Easter gives us an example of a man who felt exactly like that. His name is Thomas. The disciples gathered together on Sunday, the first day of the week. Since the disciples were Jews they would attend synagogue services on the Sabbath (Saturday) and on Sunday they would assemble together as believers in Christ. Since they are gathered together in his name, Jesus would appear to them as he had earlier promised them: “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). In this way Sunday became known as the day of the Lord, the day Christ comes to meet and strengthen his people, the special day of Christian worship. Such services were usually held in the evening. The first Christian Sunday worship following the resurrection of the Lord, the disciples are gathered for Sunday service and what do we notice, Thomas is not there. Where is Thomas? You can see that Thomas is like one of these modern-day Christians who do not regularly attend Mass. Such people are not there in church when Jesus comes to meet his people and to strengthen them in their faith. As a result, they remain with their doubts. Initially all the disciples had their doubts. But because of their encounter with the risen Lord in Sunday worship their doubt was turned into faith. Thomas missed that experience. Being a wise man, Thomas resolves never again to miss the Sunday gathering of believers. The gospel reading continues, “A week later [ie the following Sunday] his disciples were again in the house, and [this time around] Thomas was with them [and as usual] Jesus came and stood among them (John 20:26). This time Thomas had his own share of the resurrection experience. Immediately his doubt changed into faith and he fell down and worshipped, saying, “My Lord and my God!” (verse 28). Now ask yourself, What if Thomas had stayed away from church saying, “Prove it! Prove it to me that Jesus is risen and then I will come,” would it be possible to prove it to him by arguments alone? Sometimes the best argument you can give to someone out there who is in doubt and does not believe is a sentence in three words, “Come and see.” Come in and let the risen Lord who is here with us in Sunday worship, the Lord who is here in his word and in the Eucharist, let him, himself, speak to you and touch your heart and then you will doubt no longer but believe. The answer to our religious questions and doubts is not out there. The answer is right in here. When you are in doubt, think of doubting Thomas and learn from his own experiences. Come and you will see. Our faith is not built on any scientific proof or experiment, but on the resurrection of Jesus. It is built on listening and acting on the words of the Risen One who is present in the community here gathered in his name. The only thing that can be verified is the type of new life we live as Christians, if it corresponds to that of the risen Jesus. Lord God, give us the grace to believe in you even when we cannot understand, and in believing may our faith in you reflect in our daily lives so that the world will know that we are your disciples. Amen
What is Your 4 O’Clock Moment? “What is your 4 o’clock moment?” This question was posed to the 43 representatives from the 23 parishes who came to Hallam’s first Diocesan Proclaim 15 meeting, “Hearing the Call” held recently at All Saints School. We were a bit puzzled until Greg Ryan, who posed the question, explained the reference to John 1:39. “Come and see” he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the 10th hour (4pm)”. What was our experience of a personal encounter with Jesus? The gospel goes on to describe how Andrew went to tell his brother Peter that he had found the Messiah. Can we hear the excitement, eagerness and joy in his words? Our day began with the story of another person who joyously shared his encounter with Christ, the man possessed by demons in Luke 8:28-39. Before Jesus came to him we read that he was living wild and naked amongst the tombs. He was in a desperate, loveless place, but he was transformed through his encounter with Christ who instructed him to “Go back home and report all that God had done for you.” It is not recorded how he did this but we can imagine his delight, joy, and bubbling enthusiasm as he eagerly told his story to his community. This would not have been easy given their fear of what Jesus had done. At our first meeting for parish representatives for Proclaim 15 we learnt more about Pope Francis’ invitation for us to become missionary disciples. “Christians have a duty to proclaim the Gospel without excluding anyone. Instead of seeming to impose new obligations, they should appear as people who wish to share their joy, who point to a horizon of beauty and who invite others to a delicious banquet. It is not by proselytising that the Church grows, but ‘attraction’.” Evangelii Gaudiem 15. Greg guided us through the fundamental change in the church brought about by Vatican 2, and with which we are still struggling to come to terms with. We were reminded of Pope Paul VI’ exhortation, “She (the Church) exists in order to evangelise, that is to say, in order to preach and teach, to be the channel of the gift of grace, to reconcile sinners with God and to perpetuate Christ’s sacrifice in the Mass, which is the memorial of his death and glorious resurrection.” Evangelii Nuntiandi 14. The timing of our first meeting is appropriate given Bishop Ralph’s recent letter in the April edition of Hallam News. He wrote that “Jesus invites and challenges his disciples in every generation to ‘put out into the deep’. Like Peter, we, too, can be resistant to his invitation but if we overcome our resistance we, also, will experience and do more than we ever dare hope or imagine.” We are called to leave the safety of the shore, to go out to the deep, to move forward, to become missionary. Pope Francis wrote, “I wish to encourage the Christian faithful to embark upon a new chapter of evangelisation marked by this joy, while pointing out new paths for the Church’s journey in years to come.” Evangelii Gaudium 1. Our next meeting, “Sharing the Message,” will be held on 2 July from 9.30am – 12.30pm at All Saints School, Sheffield. We will be looking in more detail at what evangelisation can mean within our parishes. There is still time for those parishes which were not represented at the first meeting to join our journey. All you need to do is to ask your Parish Priest to be one of the two representatives for your parish and then email Deacon Andrew Crowley at stpatslanetop@gmailmail, giving your name, parish and deanery. Deacon Andrew Crowley
Challenges, Joys and Commitments In the April edition of Hallam News, Bishop Ralph stated that something radical is needed to address the demands of a changing Church in a changing world. Drawing on the work of Cardinal Walter Kasper, he suggested that a combination of “centres of liturgical excellence and missionary zeal” and self-reliant base communities was a model worth further consideration. Liturgical excellence and missionary zeal in this changing world have been given attention in the Hallam News recently: Fr Peter Mc Guire’s article on “Liturgy in the Absence of a Priest” last month, and Deacon Andrew Crowley’s piece in this issue on Proclaim 15 (page 4). Both of these recognise the need for effective formation of mature Christians in a diversity of ministries making use of a variety of gifts. What then can we say about the worshipping communities at the heart of both liturgy and mission? How will they be equipped for new challenges? Practically, what can be done in terms of lay formation for mission, ministries and leadership as well as for ongoing growth in the faith which is the right and duty of every Christian? The question is not new. The Second Vatican Council recognised that the mission of the laity ‘can attain maximum effectiveness only through a diversified and thorough formation’. This insight was reinforced and developed in a string of documents from Popes, Vatican departments and Bishops’ Conferences. You can find an excellent summary of these developments in the report issued by the Bishops of England and Wales: The Priority of Adult Formation (available to download from the diocesan website). Some of the themes which come out from half a century of reflection on this issue are: 1) The need for lifelong learning and the development of a mature faith. “For catechesis to be effective, it must be permanent, and it would be quite useless if it stopped short just at the threshold of maturity” (St. John Paul II). The bishops add, “Many adults feel that their own formation effectively ended as children. Some remain unaware of the need for ongoing formation.” 2) Mutual co-operation between the members of the faithful is essential for mission. Diverse ministries (lay and ordained) need to collaborate to proclaim the Gospel and show God’s love. There is an ordered communion of ministries and gifts. 3) Adult formation (lay and ordained) requires ongoing resources commitments and prioritisation: “the formation of the lay faithful must be placed among the priorities of a diocese” (St John Paul II). The bishops of England and Wales affirmed “There can be no priority more urgent.” Hallam has always taken this task very seriously; the first adult education director was in post just three years after the diocese was created. Since then, hundreds have completed national and diocesan certificates; many more have attended diocesan and deanery events; and over thirty obtained an MA in theology. In the changing church and changing world to which Bishop Ralph referred, we have reviewed and relaunched adult formation activities in the diocese. There will doubtless be more to come as we respond to the emerging demands for missional, liturgical and pastoral formation. So what are we doing now, and what are the plans for the future? Firstly, there is a desire to develop a familiarity with the scriptures and with Church teaching. This can be thought of as a foundation for faith, or as the roots of our Catholic identity, but is perhaps best seen as a return, to the source of living water, “ad fontes” which we encounter in Scripture and Tradition. As part of the relaunch of adult formation activities in the diocese, we will be starting a new programme in September. “Emmaus – a journey through the Christian scriptures and the Teachings of the Catholic Church”. This is an invitation to all adult Catholics to journey together in reading the bible and studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Taking an unrushed journey through these texts is an opportunity to hear the voice of Jesus in the scriptures and in tradition. The course will run in a number of sites spread around the diocese over a four year period. The second area is the formation for ministries and mission. This area is where we may have to develop the most, as the diocese discerns the ministries and formation needed to engage in evangelisation and worship in the 21st century. Nonetheless, some activities are already underway. An ongoing programme of Parish Ministry Days, led by Mgr John Ryan has been well-received across the Diocese. These days are held for each deanery and provide a time of prayer, reflection, study and community for readers, extraordinary ministers of communion and catechists. This will continue in 2016, and we will also look at providing more focussed training for the specific roles. Greg Ryan is working with the Proclaim 15 initiative to develop suitable formation for mission. In providing resources for ministries, we also need to look at what has already been done in those parishes and deaneries which already have good practice in place. Thirdly, there are course and talks to study in-depth both theology and practical application: “faith seeking understanding”. This includes formal study and public talks, such as the popular Lent talks this year on the Passion in the Four Gospels. It also involves working together with groups putting theology into practice, such as the Justice and Peace commission. The core programme here is the Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS). This is a nationally recognised course designed to give an understanding of basic Christian theology which can be studied over 2-5 years. It is particularly recommended for teachers and catechists, but is perfect for anyone wanting an introduction to studying of the faith using the resources of theology. The CCRS is recommended or required for leadership positions in Catholic schools: perhaps it could be part of a common training for anyone involved in lay leadership in the diocese in future? The 2016 course is now open […]
A pupil from St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, Rotherham won a competition to visit Downing Street to ask David Cameron a question. Isobelle won the competition with the children’s newspaper, First News. The paper is ten years old this year and ten prizes were given to ten ten year olds nationally and internationally to visit Downing Street and ask the Prime Minister a question. Isobel was one of the fortunate ten year olds to win a place and was taken to London with her IT teacher, Mr Gavin Sharp, headmistress, Mrs Amanda Wassell and Isobelle’s mother, Claire. That morning before they left home Isobelle was interviewed on local radio, and Radio Sheffield visited her at home to take photographs. The group was given a VIP conducted tour of Downing Street – even saw the cat – met George Osborne and were shown round Westminster. David Cameron spent a long time with the children. Isobelle’s question to David Cameron was, “I am ten years old like the paper. In ten years time I will be studying to get a good job; what are you doing to ensure there will be work in the North of England?” Mr Cameron assured Isobelle he was thinking about the Northern Power House and shifting power up from London. Everyone at St Bede’s was very proud of Isobelle representing the school.
The Trans Pennine Trail runs through Barnsley and has been the catalyst for Barnsley Catenian brothers and charitable fund raising. Two years ago Ken Barry raised £300 for Barnsley Hospice through supporting the President’s Charity that year and riding his bicycle across the trail. Now Deacon Tony Strike is attempting something similar only this time on foot. Tony has explained the rationale behind his efforts: “The world is experiencing the largest movement of people since the Second World War with millions of people fleeing wars in Syria and Iraq, continuing conflicts and instability in Afghanistan, and in countries across Africa and Eastern Europe. It is a modern day exodus of biblical proportions. In the mass of people making journeys across forests and oceans, it is hard to pick out individual stories or to seriously imagine ourselves in the same situation. “I decided to walk over 120 miles over six days along the Trans Pennine Trail to show solidarity with and support the refugees who are walking because they have been forced into exile by conflicts in their home country. I work at the University of Sheffield and we have a particular reason to hold faith with those who make such a perilous journey; some of our own community had to do just the same. “Nobel Laureate Hans Krebs fled fascism and later spent “nineteen happy years” at the University of Sheffield. Author, poet and academic Mbulelo Mzamane, who was expelled from Botswana, completed a PhD at Sheffield. He was later described by Nelson Mandela as a “visionary leader and one of South Africa’s greatest intellectuals”. A former Students’ Union President Abdi-Aziz Suleiman left Somalia with his mother when he was three and found refuge in our own city of Sheffield, growing up in Broomhall. “A number of other academics and students currently working and studying in the safety of the University where I work have arrived from several different countries, all with their own stories to tell and reasons for having had to flee their homes. “The Big Walk 2016 presents us with the opportunity to continue our long-standing tradition of welcoming refugees as academics and as students based in a City of Sanctuary. Starting on Sunday 12 June, the Big Walk 2016 will see two teams of 10 alumni, staff and students of the University of Sheffield walk over 120 miles over six days along the Trans Pennine Trail. “If you want a way to demonstrate solidarity with refugees and to show that they are welcome at our University and in our cities and country then please do pray for those on the road and if you can, please sponsor my walk at the following site, http://www.justgiving.com/TonyStrike.”
Bishop John Rawsthorne, former chair of CAFOD and Bishop Emeritus of Hallam, was in Nepal with the director of CAFOD, Chris Bain, last month and writes to the people of Hallam. “Last month I travelled to Nepal to visit the communities that Catholic aid agency CAFOD has been supporting since two devastating earthquakes struck the country one year ago. “I saw remarkable work helping people recover and rebuild – work made possible because of the generosity of people in our area who made donations or organised collections in parishes and schools around the Diocese. “The experience of meeting one man, a father who tragically lost his son, had a particularly strong effect on me. “Living in a village in northern Rasuwa region in Nepal, the earthquake on 25 April 2015 had destroyed his home and village. His wife died in the rubble of their home. He was injured but managed to save his wounded son, while his other son was unharmed. “Yet the very day I arrived to visit a resettlement camp where the man was now living with his two sons, his youngest son whom he’d saved from the rubble had drowned in the swift current of their nearby glacial stream. “I saved him from the rubble one year ago, but I couldn’t save him from a small river today,” he despaired. “This was a devastating story and he was inconsolable. Although the story is heart breaking, his grief is not unique – nearly everyone I spoke with in Nepal had been affected by the worst disaster in living memory. “But there were many stories of hope as well. “In a camp for displaced people whose villages were uninhabitable from the earthquake damage, I met Sarkiyolmo Tamang from the indigenous Tamang community from Haku, on the Chinese border. This community are traditionally farmers and craftspeople who make bamboo baskets for carrying goods. The Haku area was destroyed by the 2015 earthquakes and landslides have made the land uninhabitable. Tamang from Haku are living in the highest-altitude camp for people who have lost their homes, with a climate most similar to their homes in the mountainous villages. Sarkiyolmo, like many Tamang, is skilled in making bamboo baskets but is now learning to make bamboo stools, which are standard items in most Nepali households and in high demand in the nearby markets of the permanent host community. “Sarkiyolmo said, “I am still learning how to make the stools, I am still slow. I use what I can find, like tyres for the base of the stool. I like making baskets too but now I am learning something new to make and save money to buy land.” “The Catholic community in England and Wales raised a generous £3.8m for CAFOD’s Nepal Earthquake Appeal. Nearly £60,000 of this came from people in the Diocese of Hallam, including its schools. “This helped CAFOD’s Church partners to be on the front line of the emergency response immediately after the earthquake. The earthquake was the worst disaster in 80 years in Nepal, but Caritas Nepal, CAFOD’s partner, rapidly scaled up their operations to support local communities across 17 districts, providing immediate aid relief. “Now CAFOD’s partners are providing longer term recovery support like shelter, clean water, and jobs training. They have provided the bamboo needed to make Sarkiyolmo’s stools and much more. Because they understand the different cultures and lifestyles of their communities, the aid they provided met the specific needs of the many different affected communities in Nepal. “Although the Catholic community in Nepal is small, the services provided to the Nepalese people from CAFOD’s church partners punches well above its weight. The people I met were grateful for the ongoing generosity and compassion of the Catholic community in England and Wales. Let us continue to pray for the safety of the people of Nepal, that they may find comfort in their time of distress and the strength to rebuild their lives.”