St. Chad

Feast Day:
Roman Rite Calendar - 03/02

Patron Of: Archdiocese of Birmingham, England, Diocese of Lichfield, England

Also known as

    2 March

    Brother of Saint Cedd and Saint Cynibild. Missionary monk to Ireland with Saint Egbert. Priest in 653. Studied Latin and astronomy. Abbot at Lastingham monastery, England; abbot to Saint Owen.

    Not long after Chad became abbot, Saint Wilfrid was chosen Bishop of Lindisfarne, a see which was soon moved to York. Wilfrid went to Gaul for consecration, and stayed so long that King Oswiu declared the see vacant and procured the election of Chad as bishop of York. Chad felt unworthy, but threw himself into the new vocation, travelling his diocese on foot, evangelizing where he could. When Wilfrid returned in 666, Saint Theodore, Archbishop of Canterbury, decided that Chad's episcopal consecration was invalid, and that Chad must give up the diocese to Wilfrid. Chad replied that he had never thought himself worthy of the position, that he took it through obedience, and he would surrender it through obedience. Theodore, astonished at this humility, consecrated Chad himself, and appointed him bishop of the Mercians in Lichfield in 669.

    He founded monasteries, including those at Lindsey and Barrow-upon-Humber, evangelized, travelled and preached, reformed monastic life in his see, and built a cathedral on land that had been the site of the martyrdom of 1,000 Christians by the pagan Mercians. Miraculous cures reported at the wells he caused to be dug for the relief of travellers.

    Legend says that on one occasion two of the king's sons were hunting, were led by their quarry to the oratory of Saint Chad where they found him praying. They were so impressed by the sight of the frail old man upon his knees, his face glowing with rapture, that they knelt, asked his blessing, and converted. The pagan King Wulfhere was so angry that he slew his sons, and hunted down Saint Chad for some of the same. But as he approached the bishop's cell, a great light shone through its single window, and the king was almost blinded by its brightness; he abandoned his plan for revenge.

    During storms, Chad would go to chapel and pray continually. He explained, "God thunders forth from heaven to rouse people to fear the Lord, to call them to remember the future judgment...when God will come in the clouds in great power and majesty to judge the living and the dead. And so we ought to respond to God's heavenly warning with due fear and love so that as often as God disturbs the sky, yet spares us still, we should implore God's mercy, examining the innermost recesses of our hearts and purging out the dregs of our sins, and behave with such caution that we may never deserve to be struck down."

    c.620 in Northumbria, England

    2 March 672 at Lichfield, England of natural causes after a brief illness, probably the plague; some relics preserved in the cathedral of Saint Chad in Birmingham, England

    Birmingham, England, archdiocese of
    Lichfield, England, diocese of

All information used with permission of the Patron Saint Index.

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