After its February 10 meeting, the Cathedral Chapter announced the appointment of Eileen Yago as honorary canon, a high distinction held by less than a handful of living individuals. “There are few other people in the history of the Cathedral who have given so many years of service to the Cathedral in so many different ways,” Interim Dean Frank Wade said in the announcement.
Yago, with her husband John, first became active in the life of the Cathedral in 1968. Among other significant leadership roles on the Cathedral staff and governing bodies, Yago has chaired and otherwise served for many years on the Fabric & Fine Arts committee for the Cathedral, working tirelessly to promote greater awareness of the Cathedral as a national treasure as well as greater appreciation for its ongoing preservation needs. She has also been a dedicated leader as well as long-term member of the National Cathedral Association (nca) whose efforts helped to build the Cathedral. Yago has particularly distinguished herself as the foremost living expert on the Cathedral’s almost countless individual artistic holdings, as well as the building’s status as a major artistic accomplishment in its own right.
Yago served early on as a Cathedral docent staff aide, and offered both expertise and assistance as a volunteer to the former Clerk of the Works office, the pilgrimage program, and the Herb Cottage. She has also been director of visitor programs and volunteer services on the Cathedral staff, in which role she created and implemented the Outreach to Schools program to D.C. Public Schools and initiated the medieval workshop for visitors. In addition to the countless resource of her time, Yago and her husband have also been generous benefactors to the Cathedral since the 1970s. “Their legacy as faithful Christians and creative church members is another testament to their contributions to the life of the church,” Wade said.
Responding to the honor, Yago named “working with the extended national family of volunteers, friends, donors, visitors, and worshipers—the extraordinary gift of all who touch our lives through this Cathedral church” as a major motivation for her decades of service thus far on the Cathedral Close. “All who share in the ministry of the Cathedral are particularly blessed to be involved in an institution that touches the lives of countless people,” she continued. “We are further blessed to be stewards of a sacred place of great beauty. As we continue that shared work of stewardship, I will do my very best to be worthy of this generous gesture of recognition.”
Yago is to be installed as honorary canon at a special service of Choral Evensong on Wednesday, May 16.