The Diocese and the Parish
The Diocese of Hallam
The Diocese of Hallam is one of the youngest dioceses of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It was formed on 30th May 1980 by the division of the dioceses of Leeds and Nottingham. The diocese consists of the County of South Yorkshire, parts of the High Peak and Chesterfield Districts of Derbyshire and the District of Bassetlaw in Nottinghamshire under the patronage of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour.
Sheffield is the administrative centre of the Diocese, with the Cathedral Church of St. Marie located on Norfolk Row in the city centre. The other major centres are Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham in South Yorkshire, Chesterfield in Derbyshire and Retford and Worksop in Nottinghamshire.
There are 63 parishes within the diocese. These are split among seven deanery, including Sheffield North, of which St. Francis of Assisi is a member. In addition, within the parishes, there are 11 chapels of ease and Mass centres and five other churches and chapels open to the public with regular Sunday Mass. The total Catholic population is just under 60,000.
The Bishop of Hallam is Right Reverend Ralph Heskett CSsR, who was appointed in 2014.
The Parish of St. Francis
The Parish of St. Francis of Assisi is the newest parish in Sheffield. The first formal Catholic presence in the Crosspool/Sandygate area was established in 1957 when a Chapel of Ease, dedicated to St. Francis, was established on Benty Lane in Crosspool. This area was traditionally part of St. Marie’s Parish and, in the early years, the priests of St.Marie’s served the Chapel of St.Francis.
Population growth and the needs of the area led to the division of St. Marie’s parish in 1968 and the founding of the new Parish of St. Francis, when the Chapel of Ease on Benty Lane became the Parish Church. Increasingly, this was found to be too small and an additional Mass Centre was established at Hallam School. In time, thoughts and prayers moved towards the building of a parish centre. This came to fruition in the late 1980s with the donation of land in Sandygate by the Young Family. The Parish Centre of St. Francis of Assisi was opened and dedicated on 1st December 1989 by Rt. Rev. Gerald Moverley, JCD, the first Bishop of Hallam.
St. Francis of Assisi is a lively and active parish, serving the areas of Carsick, Crosspool, Fulwood, Hallam Head, Lodge Moor, Ranmoor, Redmires, Sandygate, Tapton and part of Nether Green.
Father Kevin Thornton, the present parish priest, was appointed in 1998. Stephen Parker was appointed Parish Deacon in 2013.