“Justice and peace” is the term used for the Church’s mission to raise awareness of the social justice issues facing the world today, and do something about them together in an effective way. This operates at the levels of our parish, the deanery (group of ten local parishes), the Hallam Diocese, and the National Justice and Peace network. Our commitment to justice and peace can be thought of as our Covenant with the Poor, that is, our promise to share our wealth, help our brothers and sisters and pray for all.


CAFOD plays an important role in the Covenant with the Poor, through the Lent and Harvest Fast Days, emergency appeals when disasters occur, and the campaigns that raise awareness of poverty and the part that politics plays in addressing these concerns. 174 Sacred Heart parishioners in July 2015 signed a national petition to our Prime Minister calling for him and other world leaders to prevent climate change from pushing people further into poverty. ‘Speak Up’ For the Love Of Climate Lobby in London on 17 June 2015 was an opportunity for supporters to meet their MPs at Westminster to lobby them to act against climate change. Our parish, deanery, and diocese were represented. 

Connect 2 El Salvador

Connect 2 El Salvador  CAFOD’s partnership with projects round the world enables parishes to connect with local communities by holding fundraisers, and exchanging accounts of what is happening in our respective areas. Sheffield North deanery is participating at present in such a connection with El Salvador. We have been hearing about the excitement generated by the beatification of Oscar Romero, assassinated in 1980 by government forces, for his defence of the poor.

The Environment

The recent encyclical from Pope Francis on caring for the environment will feature in our next diocesan conference on 3 October 2015 entitled “Reaching out to our neighbours of other faiths”. Pope Francis writes: The majority of people living on our planet profess to be believers. This should spur religions to dialogue among themselves for the sake of protecting nature, defending the poor, and building networks of respect and fraternity. Carbon Conversations have been held in St Vincent’s parish at Crookes.

Rustenburg Project South Africa

Sacred Heart collected £645 in the parish during Lent for the Rustenburg Project. This helps their hospice, and provides food for school children, and skills training programmes. Sister Maire, a Sister of Charity of Saint Paul the Apostle, who lives in Sacred Heart now, used to work with her religious community in Rustenburg.

ASSIST (Asylum Seekers Initiative Short Term)

This Sheffield group works closely with City of Sanctuary Sheffield to give support to the most destitute people in our city. We collect clothes for Assist, and send contributions from our Parish Justice and Peace Fund. We have hosted asylum seekers at Sacred Heart Presbytery over the years, from Rwanda, and Eritrea, and our present asylum seeker is from Zimbabwe, on a 6 month arrangement.

Overseas Mission of the Church

The red boxes for the Association for the Propagation of the Faith are widely used throughout the church to raise funds for the mission stations around the world.

One Sheffield Many Cultures

One Sheffield Many Cultures celebrates the multicultural diversity of Sheffield. We hold annual festivals in Barkers Pool, Sheffield, involving performances by pupils from 10 local secondary schools and brief speeches from civic and religious leaders, and trade unions. We have seminars from time to time, addressed by university specialists in the field, and we are represented at the meetings of the Sheffield Faith Leaders Group and Sheffield City Council’s Cohesion Strategy Group. 

Reaching out to our neighbours of other faiths

Over the past 50 years different popes have explored, preached and practised inter-religious dialogue, commending it not just to the Catholic faithful but to followers of other faiths. Pope John Paul II addressing an inter-religious assembly in Rome on 28 October 1999 said:  “I am convinced that the increased interest in dialogue between religions is one of the signs of hope present in the last part of this century. Yet there is a need to go further. Greater mutual esteem and growing trust must lead to still more effective and coordinated common action on behalf of the human family.”  At our next diocesan conference, on Saturday 3 October 2015 you can come and listen to Bishop Ralph Heskett as he sets out the teaching of the Church that we should live in harmony with people of different faiths, within the framework of Vatican II’s “Nostra Aetate” and Pope Francis’s  “Laudato Si”. Bishop Ralph will be joined on the platform by members of the Muslim community and some local clergy. There will also be an open forum to talk openly and honestly about the barriers to and the opportunities for achieving a better dialogue between Catholics and Muslims in Hallam. Please join us as we discuss one of the biggest social justice issues facing us today. It’s from 9.30am to 12.30pm – registration with tea and coffee available from 9.00am, at Hallam Diocesan Pastoral Centre, St Charles St, Sheffield S9 3WU.
Please book with Helen Donlan at helen.donlan@btinternet.com.

Hillsborough Churches Network

Hillsborough Churches Network is a gathering of ministers, congregations, and youth groups to do together what we don’t need to do apart. We hold an annual Family Fun Day in Hillsborough Park, and invite one another’s youth groups to the events that we hold.

Church Action on Poverty in Sheffield

Extracts from Annual report for 2014-2015: Our society is facing some fundamental challenges – rising levels of poverty, inequality and austerity, a housing crisis, and challenges facing children and young people and the prospect of climate crisis. This isn’t new, but our new government has key decisions ahead. These will ultimately shape the type of society that we become. In such circumstances, the churches have a major role to play in sharing a positive ‘2020 Vision ‘of the kind of ‘Good Society’ we want to help create, locally, nationally and globally.

Church Action on Poverty in Sheffield has examined the report ‘The Impact of Welfare Reform on Communities and Households in Sheffield’ published in November 2014 by the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research (Sheffield Hallam University) and commissioned by Sheffield City Council.  Dr Simon Duffy, Director of the Centre for Welfare Reform, has given us a presentation entitled Counting the Cuts – a Cumulative Impact Assessment of Government Policy. He said in his opinion and by evidence gathered by the centre that the policies on austerity were introduced in theory to deal with the financial crisis, but in practice they have had a most unfair and cumulative impact on the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the community. Link to centre for welfare reform – http://www.centreforwelfarereform.org/

A conference entitled Poverty in Sheffield Today: Finding a Way Forward held on 29 November 2014 was organised by Church Action on Poverty in Sheffield, the People’s Assembly for Sheffield and Sheffield Equality Group.  The meeting was opened by the Bishop of Sheffield and included Jane Perry’s report and the first public presentation of the results of the Listen Up! project – which involved in-depth interviews with people facing poverty in the Sheffield area. The information from these interviews was both disturbing and challenging. Other talks included: Food banks: Why we need them and how can we dispense with them? ‘The impact of benefit sanctions in Sheffield’ by Tim Arnold, author of Sheffield Citizens Advice Report. ‘Sheffield Fairness Commission: Progress in implementation’ by Professor Alan Walker, Commission Chair.

The route of our annual autumn Pilgrimage included city-centre churches and other projects working with people in poverty and the vulnerable. In each year  we have decided to walk local churches have  encouraged us to visit them. This is a witness to the amount of work going on in communities in Sheffield. Pilgrims have said that they found the experience inspiring, and there was some evidence that there has been a “ripple effect” of inspiration to action amongst some church communities. The following resolution was passed unanimously: Gandhi said that “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its most vulnerable members”.  We call upon those seeking to become Sheffield MP’s in the 2015 General Election to commit themselves to policies which will clearly improve the lives of vulnerable people in our city, whether employed or unemployed, and create fairness across the city.

The annual Homelessness Service was held during Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, 15th February 2015 with Dr Alan Billings at Victoria Hall Methodist church.  Canon Dr Billings is the Police and Crime Commissioner for South Yorkshire. 

Civic Breakfast – 5 March “Children Young People and Families in Poverty”
Reflections from the Breakfast: by those attending

  1. Child poverty is not inevitable- the UK is wealthy.
  2. We must unashamedly confront the stigma being imposed on poorer families
  3. We must campaign for  benefit sanctions to be suspended and reviewed
  4. Things are worse- worse than 6 years ago, worse than the 80’s when there was some sort of shared toughness. Inequality is worse and this is reflected in Sheffield
  5. Inequality will worsen if we have a recovery based on low wages and zero hour contracts
  6. Going to meet  and listen to families where they are is essential
  7. We need to decide as individuals and as leaders what we are prepared to do and it’s important to be amongst families rather than trying to fix them.
    The Sheffield Money showcase in Hallam University presented information about new financial services available to the people of Sheffield. 

The Church Action on Poverty Update newsletter is regularly available for those who want it by email.  Find it on the Sheffield CAP website.