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St. Richard

Richard of Chichester is also known as Richard de Wych or Richard Backedine. He was born around 1197 in Worchestershire, England to Richard and Alice de Wych. Richard’s lost his father when he was a child and the family experienced difficult times. When was older, Richard took over the management of his family's estates and made them profitable once more. He then turned them over to his brother and went study at Oxford, Paris, and Bologna. He spent seven years at Bologna and received his doctorate in canon law there. In 1235, he was appointed chancellor of Oxford University. He became chancellor to Edmund Rich, the Archbishop of Canterbury; after the archbishop died Richard taught at the Dominican house of studies at Orléans. He was ordained at Orléans in 1243. After brief period as a parish priest, he became chancellor to the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Boniface of Savoy. In 1244, King Henry II named Ralph Neville as the bishop of Chichester, but Archbishop Boniface declared to decision invalid. He appointed Richard instead. The case was appealed to Rome and Pope Innocent IV declared Richard to be the rightful bishop, consecrating him in 1245. The king opposed Richard on his return to England and refused to allow him into the bishop's palace. Under the threat of excommunication, Henry relented. For the next eight years Richard dedicated himself to the people of his see. He was generous to the poor and insisted on strict discipline for the clergy. On April 3, 1253, while preaching a crusade, Richard died at a house for poor priests in Dover, England. He was canonized in 1262. St. Richard is sometimes pictured with an overturned chalice at his feet, because he dropped the chalice one day while saying Mass, yet the Precious Blood did not spill. He is the patron of coachmen, possibly because he drove wagons on his family farm. His feast is April 3 in the Catholic Church; the Anglican Community celebrates it on June 16.

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