02 March 2014

Celebrating Saint Chad and preparing
for Lent in Lichfield Cathedral

The three spires of Lichfield Cathedral in the sunshine last week (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

This morning is being marked in most cathedrals and churches throughout the Anglican Communion as the Sunday before Lent. But today [2 March 2014] is being marked in Lichfield Cathedral as the Patronal Festival of Saint Chad, the founding saint of the Diocese of Lichfield.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, is presiding at the Patronal Eucharist at 10.30, when the setting is Mozart’s Missa Brevis in D, and the special preacher is the Dean of Hereford, the Very Revd Michael Tavinor.

The celebrations continue tomorrow [Monday, 3 March 2014] with a meeting of the College of Canons in the afternoon, and in the evening Festal Evensong and Procession, with a commemoration of the cathedral benefactors.

Saint Chad by the door of the North Transept in Lichfield Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Lent begins this week with Ash Wednesday [5 March], and while I was visiting Lichfield Cathedral late last week I also heard how throughout Lent the cathedral is marking Lent by hosting an exhibition of a major new series of life-size paintings by Iain McKillop on the theme, ‘Words of Forgiveness and Hope.’

Iain is an Anglican priest and an internationally-known painter .This exhibition, from Wednesday until 27 April, is a form of visual prayer, contemplating the themes of hope and salvation. It is a series of stations, encouraging visitors to make a pilgrimage around the cathedral to contemplate and to pray.

The exhibition includes 21 paintings: seven explore Christ’s inner struggle with the needs of the world; seven are contemplations on Christ’s Seven Last Words on the Cross; and seven look at Christ’s Resurrection appearances.

Conceived over several years the images encourage us to pray for the forgiveness, inner peace and world integrity which Jesus gave his life to achieve. As Lent approaches, this exhibition offers an opportunity to prepare for Holy Week, Good Friday and Easter.

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