The Ordination of Fr Christopher W Ainslie took place at St Marie’s Cathedral, Sheffield on Saturday, 14 July – a beautiful setting for the gathering of Christopher’s family, many priests and parishioners in the Diocese. Fr Ainslie was formally presented by Canon David Oakley to Bishop Ralph for his Consecration. We wish him God’s help and every blessing in his priestly ministry. Fr Chris Celebrates First Mass On Sunday, 15 July at St William of York Church, Sheffield Fr Christopher Ainslie, newly ordained Hallam priest, celebrated his First Mass. Fr Chris is from St William’s Parish, where Mass was followed by a Parish lunch party and presentation in his honour. We are keeping Fr Chris in our prayers as he takes up his first appointment in September as assistant priest at St Peter-in-Chains, Doncaster.
Archives for August 2018
The annual Feast of Corpus Christi was celebrated in the traditional way of the Hallam Diocese, when Bishop Ralph led a procession through the streets of Sheffield.
The procession began at St Marie’s Cathedral. The Bishop placed incense in t…
On Sunday, 10 June a new and hugely successful Summer Fair took place at the Annunciation Church in Chesterfield. In addition to the traditional bottle, cake, bric-a-brac and plant stalls, the event offered a wide variety of activities in the parish centre and presbytery gardens – something for everyone. The indoor activities included Face Painting, Nail Art, Arts and Crafts, a Peg Game, Number Game and Soft Toy Tombola, as well as Name the Rabbit and Guess the Weight of the Cake. Outdoors, in the beautiful summer sunshine, younger guests enjoyed a bouncy castle, fun sports, children’s games and a high point of the day was the Egg and Spoon Race between Fr Adrian, Sr Jacinta, Fr Thomasz and Mgr Carvalho. The jury is still out on the winner! Hungry stomachs were filled from a delicious spread of hot and cold food inspired by recipes from around the world, including Indian, Polish and Filipino dishes. For those with more conservative taste buds, sausage and bacon sandwiches were in plentiful supply, and Frederick’s Ice Cream van was popular with adults and children alike. The chocolate fountain also did a roaring trade, along with toasted marshmallows, sweets and fresh fruit for those wanting a healthier option. A popular bar served hot and cold drinks for thirsty guests throughout the day. The packed programme of entertainment included a wonderful performance by the choir from nearby St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, a Sari demonstration by the talented Indian community and some breath-taking Irish dancing. Parish priest, Fr Adrian Tomlinson said, “This wonderful event was an unparalleled success – and a celebration of the vibrant cultural community within the recently formed Parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace. Many thanks to all those involved in planning and organising this new venture for our parish, as well as everyone who came and helped or supported in any way on the day. The fact that we raised £2,600 is amazing, but to me it was more about bringing our parish community together as a family, and in this respect it has been astounding!”
Official Come and See website: www.comeandseere.co.uk
St Vincent de Paul Society History of the Society in England and Wales, Part 2 The abject poverty experienced by those in the mid-19th century unfortunate enough to be trapped within its clutches is almost too much for us to comprehend today. It had a dramatic impact in a vast range of ways: unemployment, hunger, social deprivation, lack of education, oppression, persecution and, perhaps most devastatingly, health and hygiene. It was such conditions that faced members of the newly formed Society of St Vincent de Paul as they worked to fulfil their Vincentian mission of seeking out those in need of help and offering practical assistance and support. Given this context the SVP was to find it itself invaluable as it became more and more involved in the community. One of its first challenges was to help the sick. Epidemics left many widows and orphans Epidemics of cholera swept the country in the 1830s and 1840s, spread through poor sewerage and contaminated drinking water. Of the 71,000 reported cases, 13,000 died. It was not until the 1860s that the epidemics ceased, by which time 80,000 had died of cholera. The total was probably much higher, as the poorest in the city slums were unlikely to appear in official statistics, neither seeking help nor able to afford proper burial. The 1832 Cholera outbreak in Sheffield was particularly devastating, claiming 402 lives. More lives were lost in subsequent outbreaks over the next few decades. Cholera was the worst but not the only killer. “Endemic fever” was a term frequently used for diseases spread by the filthy conditions in which the poor lived and worked. In 1838 in England and Wales, the deaths of men under 45 from such causes resulted in 43,000 widows and 112,000 orphans seeking Poor Law relief. The prevailing view, stated in the reports of the Poor Law Commissioners, was that “the elderly should have provided for themselves through thrift in their earlier years,” and that, as far as the children were concerned, “someone should have provided in advance for them”. Concern for the victims of epidemics It was despite the seemingly callous view of the authorities towards the poor that the SVP felt moved to take action. True to its mission to seek out those in need and provide practical assistance the St Vincent de Paul Society soon got involved in providing funding for nurses and for the purchase of medicines – and coffins. Infant mortality was high, and ultimately death a constant threat to the poor because of the conditions they lived in and the apparent belief of those in charge that the poor only had themselves to blame! No Welfare State Such were the conditions which existed generally at the time the SVP was founded in England and Wales. The poor lived in extreme poverty, with no welfare state such as we have today. The Poor Law provided relief to some, and the workhouse for others, but neither was welcomed by the poor, in general. There were of course degrees of poverty, and Irish immigrants largely Catholics, were amongst the poorest of all. The poorest of the poor – Irish Immigrants Many Irish poor had travelled across the sea to escape the desperate conditions the potato famine had caused. Having arrived at ports such as Liverpool, many walked across the Pennines arriving in Sheffield looking for work in the burgeoning steel industry. Many ended up in an area known as ‘The Crofts’ which quickly developed as a slum area with each house a shelter for several families. The Census of 1851 indicated the Irish making up 3.3% of the population, mainly centred in this part of Sheffield. True to their mission and keen to put their faith into action, the SVP became actively involved in a series of initiatives and projects to help alleviate the distress and suffering of the poor. What they did will be explained in further ‘chapters’.
What goes on inside a convent? Probably the only thing you can be sure about is that life is never dull! Take the Augustinian Sisters at Boarbank Hall in Cumbria. They run a Nursing Home and Guest House in their beautiful grounds overlooking Morecambe Bay. These attract hundreds of visitors each year, who come for all sorts of reasons. Some are poorly, some nearing the end of life, others are visiting sick friends; others come for retreats, for meetings of charities, for INSET days and school visits, for study weeks, for family holidays, to walk in the Lakes, to relax, to find peace, to pray. The full title of the Sisters is Augustinian Canonesses of the Mercy of Jesus. Their mission focuses on compassion and hospitality, and the Nursing Home and Guest House allow them to practise these. The Nursing Home, open since 1955, mainly serves the local community, with long-term residents, and patients coming for respite care or to be looked after at the very end of their lives. In recent years, they have been building up a programme of residential events in the Guest House. All of these offer opportunities to join the Sisters for daily Mass and sung office, and to enjoy the fellowship of other guests. A particular highlight in the winter months is Night Prayer around the open fire in the Hall. In warmer weather, guests can make the most of the gardens, which include a Lourdes Grotto. The spacious chapel and prize-winning oratory are available for anyone to use at any time. The varied courses include a summer week for Catholics in their 20s to 40s, which mixes talks and discussion with prayer and social activities, making the most of our location near the Lake District. There are two weeks on Scripture and a popular Autumn Break on the theme of faith and the arts. New ventures include ‘Introducing St Augustine’ and a weekend on Basic Latin. Several courses aim to relate faith with the world of work, for example a weekend entitled ‘Called to Work’, and a weekend for lecturers in Higher Education. There are several events each year for healthcare workers, which bring together doctors, nurses, chaplains and other professionals and interested lay people. Past speakers at events at Boarbank have included Fr Martin Ganeri OP, the Dominican Provincial, Baroness Onora O’Neill, the eminent wildlife artist Fiona Clucas, Sr Gemma Simmonds SJ, Professor David Jones of the Anscombe Centre, Professor Karen Kilby, a theologian from the University of Durham and Professor John Brooke of Oxford University. Those lined up for this year’s courses include Kathryn Mannix, retired Palliative Care Consultant and author of the current bestseller With the End in Mind, Dr Carmen Mangion, an expert on the history of women’s religious life from Birkbeck College in London and Fr Luiz Ruscillo, Director of Education in the Diocese of Lancaster. For more information about Boarbank and what goes on there, see www.boarbankhall.org.uk.
The Blessing of the Headstone on the Grave of Two Former Parish Priests of St Peter-in-Chains, Doncaster Whilst parish priest at St Peter-in-Chains, Doncaster, Fr Gus O’Reilly was made aware of the existence in Hyde Park cemetery of the graves of two former priests, Fr Andrew Leonard and Fr Charles Flynn. Fr Leonard was parish priest at St Peter’s from 1891-1927 and Fr Flynn was parish priest there from 1938-1952. Fr O’Reilly was advised that the graves were in a dilapidated condition and were not befitting to their memories. After visiting the graves, he had thought that replacing the broken headstone would help, but after taking advice from the guardians of the cemetery, it was decided not to go ahead. As a more fitting alternative, he arranged for the priests to be taken from the old cemetery and laid to rest in the new Catholic section of Rose Hill Cemetery. During 2010, their remains were dis-interred and after a Requiem Mass at St Peter’s on 11 November of that year, they were re-interred in their new resting place. For a number of reasons, the grave had no headstone. After nearly eight years, parishioner Vi Green visited the cemetery to pay her respects but, due to the grave being unmarked, she was unable to find it. She decided that the time had come to remember these former parish priests by the placing of a headstone. Vi, together with fellow parishioner, Sir Patrick Duffy, kick-started a fundraiser by each giving a donation. Fr Declan Brett, currently curate at St Peter’s, continued the fundraising by selling Easter cards. Printed at HMP Doncaster, with the help of their Chaplain, Deacon Harish Massey, they were sold at St Peter’s, the Convent of Mercy, the Maridon bookstore, and in the parishes of Bentley and Askern. The entire funds were raised in under a week. On Friday, 25 May, 2018 a group of parishioners gathered for the blessing of the headstone. Vi and Sir Patrick were present and shared their memories of these priests. Sincere thanks goes to everyone who helped in the realisation of this project.
The Feast of Pentecost was a day of great celebration in churches of the Parish of Our Lady Queen of Peace, Chesterfield. At the Vigil Mass at Holy Family Church following the request from a number of parishioners, Martin Lowry was presented with the Benemerenti in recognition for over sixty years of devoted service to the Parish priests and wider community of the former Parish of the Holy Family. The following day, John Nelis and Frank Berry each received a Benemerenti at 11am Mass at the Church of the Annunciation. John has devoted over 30 years of untiring and total devoted service to the Parish and the priests of the former Parish of the Annunciation. In typical style John’s words to his Parish Priest were, “I do not wish to sound ungrateful, but there are far more people deserving of this than me.” To which the response was, “Your attitude like that is the reason you are receiving this award.” Frank Berry has been organist for fifty years and involved in ecumenical endeavours in the town of Chesterfield for many years. Parish Priest, Fr Adrian Tomlinson thanked Frank for his many years of commitment and faithful service, for which the award was made. All three presentations were welcomed by parishioners with great applause and many congratulations were offered after Mass.
A report from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Retford about their St Vincent de Paul Mini Vinnie Group
Our Mini Vinnie group was founded in St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Retford in 2015, with the help and continued support of St Joseph’…
The children and staff at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Voluntary Academy, Armthorpe were delighted to end their Mission Week with a visit from Bishop Ralph.
The InReality Team had spent three days in school working with the children on the theme ‘On…