Saturday, 26 February 2011

Saint Chad’s patronal festival in Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Cathedral … celebrating the Annual Patronal Festival (Photograph © Patrick Comerford 2010)

Patrick Comerford

I am in Lichfield for the weekend, and this year’s Annual Patronal Festival is taking place in Lichfield Cathedral tomorrow [Sunday 27 February] in Lichfield Cathedral. The day will involve the cathedral community joining in prayer for a Sung Eucharist, a reception in the Great Hall of the Cathedral School and – for the first time – a unique photography exhibition marks the event.

The Sunday morning Eucharist, will see cathedral donors and patrons coming together to celebrate the memory and legacy of the Cathedral’s founding missionary bishop, Saint Chad.

This year Lichfield Cathedral is also giving particular thanks for the huge restoration project that has been completed on the Lady Chapel, as the famous Herkenrode glass has been removed for conservation and the Lady Chapel is open to the public once again.

As an additional celebration of the re-opening, the Cathedral Steward, Dr Christopher Lockwood, is opening an special photography exhibition. The exhibition, “The East End Restoration 2010 – The Story Unfolds,” features a selection of photographs from the East End restoration between April and December last year.

The pictures give a close up view of the behind the scenes work carried out by skilled stonemasons and other craftsmen. The exhibition will open to the general public from Monday [28 February] until Friday 25 March in the Cathedral Lady Chapel and admission is free.

Lichfield Cathedral is open from 7.30 am to 6.15 pm on weekdays, 8 am until 6.15 pm on Saturdays and 7.30 am until 5 pm on Sundays.

On the cathedral website, the Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, says:

“Saint Chad’s Day is a very special time in the cathedral calendar which celebrates the memory of this Anglo-Saxon missionary. The cathedral was originally built to house his tomb; it became a place of pilgrimage and the mother Church for the Christian community in Mercia.

“The Annual Patronal Day, celebrated on the nearest Sunday to Saint Chad’s Day, is an opportunity to recognise the great dedication of cathedral donors and patrons. It is only with the support of these individuals that we are able to continue with the urgent East End restoration and aim to raise the remaining £800,000 needed to do this. “

For more information about the East End Appeal or to make a donation, contact Patricia Collins on 01543 306245 or email fundraising@lichfield-cathedral.org.

The Cathedral Close, Lichfield (Photograph © Patrick Comerford 2010)

Meanwhile, six new Prebendaries appointed by the Bishop of Lichfield are being installed in the chapter during a service in the cathedral at 5.30 pm this evening [26 February]. They are: Canon John Allan, Canon Richard Grigson, Canon Rob Haarhoff, Canon Alan Jones, Canon Ian Murray, and Canon Jane Tillier. A seventh new prebendary – Canon Mark Thomas – is to be installed next Saturday [5 March].

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin