Rain on the parade as faithful march in Sheffield

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Heavy rain failed to dampen the spirits of worshippers as they paraded through the city centre.

Catholics from across the Diocese of Hallam braved fierce downpours to mark Pope Francis’s declaration of a Holy Year of Mercy with a procession through Sheffield’s central shopping distric at the weekend.

Catholic and Anglican clergy and members of their congregations walked from St Matthew’s Anglican Church in Carver Street to St Marie’s Cathedral on Norfolk Row.

There, Bishop of Hallam, the Rt Rev Ralph Heskett, formally opened the Cathedral’s own Holy Door of Mercy, in a nod toPope Francis’s opening of the Vatican’s Holy Door, the northernmost door of St Peter’s in Rome.

In a message to Hallam’s Catholics to mark the start of the Holy Year of Mercy, Bishop Ralph said: “The Year of Mercy could not be more timely.

“It has been a difficult year with terrorist attacks in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, France and the USA resulting in a significant and merciless loss of human life.

“The church has an opportunity this year to remind the world that there is a better way to live.

“We pray that this year may be a moment in the lives of each of us when we grow in a spirit of forgiveness, are more ready to seek reconciliation in moments of conflict and more willing to share the tender mercy of God with others.”

As part of the Jubilee, the Cathedral has created its own pilgrimage route, starting at the The Holy Door, formerly the south door to the Cathedral located on Norfolk Row.

Copies of guides for pilgrims are available from the Cathedral, which also hosts free guided tours every Wednesday and Sunday at 2.30pm. The Holy Door is normally sealed shut but it is ceremoniously opened for pilgrims during Jubilee years.