Today in the Calendar of the Personal Ordinariates of Our Lady of Walsingham and Our Lady of the Southern Cross is the memorial of Saints Chad, and his brother Cedd. Chad was a disciple of St Aidan of Lindisfarne who, on the death of his brother Cedd in 664, was elected abbot of Lastingham, an abbey in Yorkshire founded by Cedd (who was also Bishop of London) in 654. Lastingham adopted the Roman rite ten years before the Synod of Whitby heralded the same change for the rest of England, away from the Celtic rite. Chad went on to become Bishop of York in 664, until the arrival of St Theodore from Rome, which required his reconsecration according to the Roman rite. In 669 he was made Bishop of Mercia and Lindsey, which he moved from Repton to Lichfield, and died in the plague three years later. St Chad’s ministry was marked by extensive missionary travel throughout his diocese. Significantly, for those in my neck of the woods, he was the first bishop to preach and teach the people of Manchester. His legacy in this area is marked by several locales bearing his name (Cheadle, Cheadle Hulme, Cheetwood, Chat Moss, Chadderton, Cheetham Hill, Chadkirk, etc.), and in his patronage of the mother church of post-Reformation Catholicism in Manchester, St Chad’s, Cheetham Hill.
The photographs above are from a visit in May 2011 to Lichfield, and to the site of the Shrine of St Chad within his cathedral. This is where his relics were kept, behind the high altar, until the shrine was destroyed in 1538. However, some bones were recovered, hidden, and passed down through successive generations. These are now kept and venerated at St Chad’s Catholic Cathedral, Birmingham.
‘The Mercians at this time were ruled by King Wulf here, who on the death of Jaruman asked Theodore to provide him and his people with a bishop. Theodore, however, did not wish to consecrate a new bishop for them, but asked King Oswy to give them Chad as their bishop. Chad was then living quietly in his monastery at Lastingham, while Wilfrid ruled the Bishopric of York, and indeed of all the lands of the Northumbrians and Picts to the borders of Oswy’s realms. The most reverend Bishop Chad always preferred to undertake his preaching missions on foot rather than on horseback; but Theodore ordered him to ride whenever he undertook a long journey. He was most reluctant to forgo this pious exercise which he loved, but the archbishop, who recognised his outstanding holiness and considered it more proper for him to ride, himself insisted on helping him to mount his horse. So Chad received the Bishopric of the Mercians and the people of Lindsey, and administered the diocese in great holiness of life after the example of the early Fathers’.
St Bede the Venerable, 672-735
Almighty and everlasting God, who didst enkindle the flame of thy love in the hearts of thy Bishops Chad and Cedd: grant to us, thy humble servants, the same faith and power of love; that, as we rejoice in their triumph, we may profit by their example and prayers; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon