St Catherine’s Academy asks, “How Do You Pray?” Pupils at St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School, Sheffield have been growing in their understanding of other faiths by talking to faith representatives about prayer. St Catherine’s hosted representatives from six different world faiths as part of their work during Interfaith Fortnight. Each year group was visited by all the representatives in turn. The children asked them, “How do you pray?”, “What do you pray?” and “When do you pray?” The visitors were also kept on their toes when they were asked about their views of heaven and hell and why they believed in God. The children showed intrigue and interest in all the visitors and were able to see key similarities and differences between faiths. One child said, “I really liked it that we got to find out about different faiths. I like that they brought objects in that were important to them.” All the pupils also visited one of the six places of worship to reinforce their understanding of people of different faiths. Photos and videos were tweeted throughout the event using the hashtag ‘howdoyoupray’ and they can be viewed by looking at the school website http://www.stcatherinesprimary.org.uk/.
Archives for March 2017
The Holocaust Memorial Vigil was held in the Sheffield Winter Gardens on the last Thursday in January. It was a very moving occasion. The Assistant Bishop of Sheffield, Dr Tim Ellis spoke at the event. This is his very thought provoking speech: “Many years ago, before the Wall came down, I was a guest of the Lutheran Church in the city of Berlin. We were there to look at how the Church could support young people studying in the Further Education context. It was instructive to see the fear, distress, secrecy and subterfuge that building a wall to divide a people brought! But, we also were given the opportunity to visit some of the sites associated with Nazi atrocity-Plotzensee, where hundreds of dissidents were murdered in one night on meat hooks in a former butcher’s store; Hitler’s bunker at the Reichstag, and more. One place stood out for me … in the middle of a gently wooded clearing, verdant and leafy, a memorial to a Nazi massacre – the butchering of hundreds. It seemed there was total silence, and no birdsong. I have heard others say the same about Auschwitz and Dachau and other terrible places. “The proper response to holocaust can only be silence. We are mute in the knowledge that humanity can sink to such depths; dumbfounded that individual human beings can perpetrate such crimes; wordless to describe the extent of our revulsion, fear and hopelessness; speechless in our recognition that the small seeds of this horror lurk even in the corners of our own souls; we are incapable of framing sentences which will bring comfort and hope and which will describe our feelings of despair at the cruelty – the mundanity of this great evil. “And yet, as difficult as it is, we must frame words and thoughts to address what happened so many years ago, the effects of which remain, potent and malign, in our hearts and lives, in our communities and in our national lives. Speak out we must, because a succession of new, innocent and future-orientated generations of humanity, like blank pages, must have written on them the memory of what humanity can do to its kin when the political circumstances are right, when hatred seeks scapegoats and when violence, murder and torture are validated as a means to an end. We must frame sentences that alert the current family of humanity on this earth to the fact that holocaust still exists – it is alive and active in the midst of this global village. We must vocalise our critiques of history, of our political systems, of the policies of those in positions of power and leadership over us, so we can root out the seeds of genocide and their potential to grow today. We must cry out that this must never happen again. “But we must also speak out for Truth: we have entered a time of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative truth’: a time when fact is manipulated for personal and political gain. Google ‘Holocaust’ and, along with historical fact, comes the deniers’ fiction that this Shoah never happened. “Silence is the proper response to an evil we cannot comprehend or encompass, but powerful words are the way we communicate our sense of offence to each other and our steely determination that new generations will continue to be watchful and know the Truth. And the Truth will cast its piercing light on those places and people where holocaust is actual, and potential, today.”
Help the homeless this Lent by joining “Forty Nights of Nightstop” Campaign Homelessness charity Depaul UK is appealing for support this Lent from church communities. “Forty nights of Nightstop” is aiming to raise £7,500 to provide 500 bed-nights of safe emergency accommodation for young people affected by homelessness. Just £15 provides a safe night for someone in desperate need of a bed – and by raising £600 you could pay for bed-nights for the homeless in your area right through Lent. Nightstop North East Manager, Kester Young said, “Sadly, homelessness across the UK has increased significantly in recent years and, in the North East, every night an average of 38 people have no shelter at all. “Countless more are vulnerable, sofa surfing or sleeping in unsafe places. The majority of the time people become homeless for reasons that are little fault of their own: family problems, relationship breakdown, poor coping skills in the face of a crisis, and as a result of low or no income. “So, we are inviting churches to raise money to provide one, seven or forty nights of Nightstop emergency accommodation this Lent. One night can change everything. Will you stand with homeless young people this Lent?” Church communities are asked to visit the Forty Nights campaign page on the Depaul UK website at: https://uk.depaulcharity.org/get-involved/events/forty-nights-nightstop. There, they can download daily reflections and request the Forty Nights of Nightstop pack of fundraising ideas, discussion topics, prayers and children’s workshops. Homelessness charity, Depaul UK, which has its roots in the life and work for St Vincent de Paul, invites churches to join the Forty Nights of Nightstop campaign – to raise money to keep young people safe and warm. For more information or to sign up, please visit: https://uk.depaulcharity.org/get-involved/events/forty-nights-nightstop or email: email@example.com.
Charles and Jane Perryman, who lead the Marriage Preparation Programme in the Diocese of Hallam and wrote a very welcome series on marriage in earlier editions of the Hallam News now begin a series considering Pope Francis’ post synod document, “Amoris Laetitia”, (The Joy of Love). In Chapter 4 of his exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia”, Pope Francis presents an extended reflection on St Paul’s great poem about love (1 Cor 13: 4-7). Pope Francis refers to other parts of scripture to draw out the meaning of the various aspects of love. He then writes about qualities and behaviours we need to cultivate in order to live a life full of love. Pope Francis, quite rightly, holds before us the highest ideals of love. Sometimes, however, it seems to us that he does not make sufficient allowance for two imperfect people trying to love another. He says, for example, “We encounter problems whenever we think that relationships or people ought to be perfect, or when we put ourselves at the centre and expect things to turn out our way. Then everything makes us impatient, everything makes us react aggressively” (AL 92). Looking at this in a more measured way we would say that angry reactions are often an expression of the pain we are feeling as a result of our earlier experiences. Although in this chapter Pope Francis is referring specifically to love within marriage, much of what he has to say is applicable to all. What Pope Francis has not been able to do within the space of the exhortation is to draw out the ways in which we can cultivate attitudes and behaviours in order to deepen our love for another person. In this series of articles we will explore how we can make changes in our thinking and reactions where we become aware that we don’t live up to these aspects of love in the way that we would like. Francis reflects that “when Paul says that ‘Love is patient’ (1 Cor 13: 4), this does not simply have to do with ‘enduring all things’, because we find that idea expressed at the end of the seventh verse. Its meaning is clarified by the Greek translation of the Old Testament, where we read that God is “slow to anger” (Ex 34:6; Num 14:18). It refers, then, to the quality of one who does not act on impulse and avoids giving offence.” (AL 91) Pope Francis is making the distinction between feeling angry and the action that follows. As we grow up we all finds ways of dealing with difficult situations. Whenever we judge that we are the victim of injustice, or believe that “it isn’t fair” we usually feel angry. Often, though, what lies underneath these angry feelings is a sense that we are not important, that we don’t count, that we are stupid or incompetent. On many, many occasions these incidents are trivial but they have a cumulative effect. If a child is constantly criticised and told that they can’t do things, or that their brother or sister is better than they are or that they see that another sibling seems to be the favoured one, they will grow up and expect to hear these same opinions or to experience similar feelings of rejection. No parent is so good that their children are not affected at all by some negative experiences. It is only a matter of degree. These negative experiences lead us to develop finely tuned antennae that will hear the critical remark and the negative message very quickly. It is as if we have created a filter that lets through the critical remark or action and slows down other messages. Let us think about a common situation. Your spouse comes in and asks you “Have you put the bin out?” If you are someone who expects criticism or expects to be taken for granted, you will not hear that question as a simple request for information. It will come through as an accusation! We all have triggers like this. When they are activated our feelings and often our response to the feelings move very much faster than our thinking. We are talking about milliseconds here. The words or the reaction happen before we know it. How can we go about changing this sort of reaction? The first thing is to notice when it happens. In a quiet moment think about any incident when you were annoyed, particularly if you can think of one which involved your spouse. Try to describe to yourself the feeling and in a very honest way think of what you actually did. It may only have been a little grimace or you made a face that your partner did not see. If you could relate the feeling to things that happened much earlier in life, it will help to get these incidents in perspective. Then there are two big questions. Was my instantaneous interpretation correct? How might I have reacted differently? We start the process of change by thinking about how we might have handled things better. After a while we will be able to choose to act differently at the time of the incident. If we are able to make a link to the past, it will help us to see the current incident in its proper perspective. It will also help us if we are able to share what has happened to us in earlier life with our spouses. What is important is not just to relate what happened but also to share what it felt like then and how those feelings still affect us now. In that way some of that pain of the past can be healed and we learn to be patient with one another.
Each Saturday after six o’clock Mass, the parishioners of the Holy Family Parish, Finningley, enjoy a cup of tea or coffee together. The proceeds from this activity have reached £280.93. The money was presented to the Sisters of Mercy for their work in Peru. Our photograph above shows Duncan and Imelda Dewar presenting the money to the Sisters.
A gala charity event, held at St Marie’s Cathedral, has raised more than £35,000 for the fund to build a new cancer centre at Chesterfield Royal Hospital. ‘Into the Light: A Journey Through Christmas’, was held at the cathedral on the eve of advent (26 November, 2016) by the Macmillan Cancer Support North Derbyshire Fundraising Committee and featured top actors Dominic West, Jan Francis and Tom Chambers, as well as Harlequin Brass, Baslow Choir and the Kinder Children’s Choir. The programme included poetry, music and drama, chosen to lead the audience through the celebration of Christmas, from the Nativity itself and mediaeval choral works, through the Victorian Christmases of Dickens and our traditional carols to modern times. This ambitious and professional event was complemented greatly by the ambiance of St Marie’s, with the whole of the cathedral layout used in the performance. Organiser, Celia White said, “Thanks to the all the people who took part and who came along to the concert, it was a great success and raised a great deal of money for the appeal. “We were delighted to have been able to use St Marie’s for the show. The facilities are excellent and we were looked after very well. Many thanks to everyone involved.” Photographs courtesy of Charlotte Cooper, Peak Media
A Trustee of St Agatha’s Trust invites applications for grants For some twenty years I have been a Trustee of St Agatha’s Trust, a charity of the Diocese of Sheffield. It was set up following the closure of a mother and baby home. The fund is called Community Kickstart and it seeks to enable parishes and groups to become more socially engaged in the communities where they live. Applications are welcome from all denominations and the main criteria is that it is situated in the Anglican Diocese of Sheffield, which is similar to Hallam but not co-terminus. Over the years this has made many contributions to kick-start small projects in some of our parishes. A few examples are: providing kitchen utensils for a lunch club, musical instruments for a new group, setting up a counselling service. It has also helped some of our larger projects such as St Wilfrid’s Centre, SVP Furniture Store and Carmel Care, when they are trying to start new aspects of their services. It also helped fund an awareness raising day for mental health issues. The grants are small – usually up to £500 – and the form filling is fairly simple. The fund focuses on community projects and does not fund religious, building or vehicle projects. If your parish/group is planning something along these lines, why not apply to St Agatha’s? More information is available from the Diocese of Sheffield website http://www.sheffield.anglican.org/grants or contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please leave your telephone number if you would like me to ring you.
Instead of just walking without paying attention, open your eyes to the needs you see along the way. A group of parishioners at The Annunciation Church, Chesterfield, have decided to help support the parents and carers of children with additional needs. St Angela Parent/Carer Support Group St Angela Parent/Carer Support Group was an idea that came from a parent who was facing the tough challenge of raising a child on the Autistic Spectrum. She realised that there were other parents too within our Catholic community and beyond who would benefit from reaching out to one another and offering much needed parent to parent support. The meetings take place once a month during term time at The Annunciation parish centre, Chesterfield, and there you will find a friendly, warm and welcoming group who are willing to listen to each other non- judgementally, share ideas, concerns and together celebrate the achievements of their children. There is laughter, tears, hugs, lots of tea and coffee and plenty of homemade cake and biscuits. The group always finish with a quiet reflection, candles are lit and we gather round a prayer table to be mindful of the journey we are on. It is really powerful to feel strengthened by our faith as a group and gives us courage and a sense of peace to carry on with the challenges ahead. Convention in June We decided to find out if there are any other families in the Dioceses who meet up regularly – hence this article. We are hoping to hold a Convention in June 2017 at Chesterfield, and we will be inviting enlightened speakers and all interested parents or carers to come along. Our website is www.st-angela.org.uk. If you are would like further information, please contact email@example.com.
Instead of just walking without paying attention, open your eyes to the needs you see along the way. A group of parishioners at The Annunciation Church, Chesterfield, have decided to help support the parents and carers of children with additional needs. St Angela Parent/Carer Support Group St Angela Parent/Carer Support Group was an idea that came from a parent who was facing the tough challenge of raising a child on the Autistic Spectrum. She realised that there were other parents too within our Catholic community and beyond who would benefit from reaching out to one another and offering much needed parent to parent support. The meetings take place once a month during term time at The Annunciation parish centre, Chesterfield, and there you will find a friendly, warm and welcoming group who are willing to listen to each other non- judgementally, share ideas, concerns and together celebrate the achievements of their children. There is laughter, tears, hugs, lots of tea and coffee and plenty of homemade cake and biscuits. The group always finish with a quiet reflection, candles are lit and we gather round a prayer table to be mindful of the journey we are on. It is really powerful to feel strengthened by our faith as a group and gives us courage and a sense of peace to carry on with the challenges ahead. Convention in June We decided to find out if there are any other families in the Dioceses who meet up regularly – hence this article. We are hoping to hold a Convention in June 2017 at Chesterfield, and we will be inviting enlightened speakers and all interested parents or carers to come along. If you are would like further information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of its 40th anniversary celebrations, All Saints Catholic High School in Sheffield has set itself a challenge to raise £40,000 for charity. One of the beneficiaries of this project will be a new school in the Catholic Diocese of Moshi in Kilimanjaro region of Tanzania – St Pamachius School. Like All Saints, St Pamachius has a commitment to inclusive education and will cater for mainstream pupils as well as pupils with a wide variety of special educational needs. It is this shared goal that has led All Saints to choose to help St Pamachius develop into a school able to deliver quality education to all its pupils. There is a longstanding relationship between the Diocese of Hallam and the Diocese of Moshi, which started in 2000 when Martin and Helen Desforges first went as Missionary volunteers to help start a Secondary Teacher Training College specialising in Science Teaching. In part thanks to support from the schools and parishes of the Diocese of Hallam over a 10 year period, the teachers’ college became a university college and then an independent university, Mwenge Catholic University with over 4000 students. Once the university became self-sustaining, the focus of the link between Hallam and Moshi changed to help support the development of Diocese of Moshi secondary schools. All Saints will fund the shipment of a container to Tanzania full of desks, chairs, storage cupboards, filing cabinets, book cases, science equipment, text books, sports equipment and wheel chairs. All these items, donated by several schools, including All Saints, will enable the school to open to its first pupils during 2017. All Saints will also fund the purchasing of the container so that it will form a permanent and secure store at the school for sports and agricultural tools. The container will be dispatched in early March, 2017, and there is still space for science, maths and geography text books, atlases, dictionaries, books for the school library, football boots and team shirts. If you think you may be able to contribute suitable items to go in the container, please contact Martin and Helen Desforges on 0114 2493691. Donations towards this project and to the All Saints 40th Anniversary fund will be gratefully received at All Saints Catholic High School, Granville Road, Sheffield, S2 2RJ or by contacting 0114 272 4851.