Relics of St Chad venerated in Birmingham

 Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham was the principal celebrant and preacher at a special Mass to mark the feast of St Chad on 2 March, Patron of the Archdiocese, held in St Chad's Cathedral, on Saturday. Among the concelebrants was Abbot David Charlesworth OSB, of St Mary's Abbey, Oulton, Staffordshire, and Fr Brian Doolan, Dean of St Chad's Cathedral. The annual procession of the relics of St Chad was cancelled because if inclement weather conditions. Instead the relics were venerated following the Archbishop's sermon. Archbishop Nichols said: "Today we treasure our link with St Chad as we recall how he travelled these parts on foot." He recalled that recently another link had emerged when an 8th angel, the "Lichfield Angel", was discovered by archaeologists working at Lichfield Cathedral, when they uncovered the little church of St Peter, under the present cathedral, built to house the grave of St Chad. The Venerable Bede reported that Chad "came to dwell by St Mary's Church". Chad died on 2 March AD672 and Bede wrote that he was buried: "close by" the Church of St Mary, but that his body was later transferred to the new church of St Peter. Archbishop Nichols stressed: "We treasure the 'Lichfield Angel', but will not venerate it like we venerate the relics of Chad, a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, a temple of flesh and blood. We venerate these relics because Chad was a holy man. In him, in his body, heaven and earth were linked. "In his person Chad drew God down from heaven. This is why his preaching was effective and why he is our patron today. In these relics we have a means of, literally, keeping in touch with him. Creating the holy within the human is God's way of working our salvation." Archbishop Vincent Nichols ended: "St Chad, you were a man of holiness, clothed in the Holy Spirit. Prayer for us that we too may be faithful in prayer and filled with that same Spirit." Chad was appointed bishop of Mercia in AD669 with his seat at Lichfield in the Midlands. He died there on 2 March AD672 at the age of 34, and was buried at Lichfield. At the Reformation the shrine was destroyed but the bones of St Chad were rescued and preserved by Catholic families. In 1841 the bones were brought to the newly built cathedral in Birmingham and enshrined above the high altar in a casket to a design by AW Pugin.

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