The Parish of the Sacred Heart and St Joseph is situated in an area rich in history, containing several churches, such as Hemsworth, South Kirkby, Badsworth and Felkirk, along with Nostell Priory, which were erected for Catholic worship prior to the Reformation.
Two churches come under the Parish umbrella and, while there are several different communities with their own identities, they are one in the Faith.
Sacred Heart was established at Hemsworth in 1891 after the first parish priest, Fr Bernard Speet, purchased land in Highfield Road and built a school. Mass was said there until the second parish priest, Fr Charles Leteux, bought the former Holgate House in 1898.
The church was established on the first floor, while the ground floor became a Catholic club, both of which were focal points in the parish until being demolished following structural faults in 1992.
Facing a tremendous challenge, the members of Sacred Heart responded with enthusiasm and generosity to help create the magnificent new church on the same site, which was opened and consecrated late in 1994.
St Joseph’s, Moorthorpe, also began with a school, which was opened in 1912, and its first parish priest was a former curate at Hemsworth, Fr Thomas McNiff, who served at Moorthorpe until his death in 1950.
Fr McNiff wanted St Joseph’s to be a landmark, and the Church was opened on October 22nd, 1928, serving the communities of South Kirkby, South Elmsall and Upton.
Its future seemed bleak in 1993 when structural problems were found, but the members showed grit and determination to raise the necessary finance for the required repairs to be completed and give it a new lease of life.
Hard work by members at Upton led to the opening of St Paul’s Hall in the village in 1950, and it was used for services and social events until the early 80’s, when it was sold to the Parish Council for community use.
Kinsley and Fitzwilliam were blessed with the Church of Our Lady of Graces in 1920, and the number of communicants increased to see a new Church opened in March, 1938, to cater for the parish’s growing needs. It has been closed since 2007, and the congregation absorbed into the Parish of Sacred Heart and St Joseph.