On the fifth Sunday in Lent, the Church invites everyone to make a personal act of dedication of our country to Mary. In doing so we repeat the dedication made in 1381 by Richard 11 of England, who promised this land and its people as the Dowry of Mary.
The idea of England as the Dowry of Mary is rich in history but perhaps not a term used much in contemporary language.
It is fitting that this opportunity for Re-dedication comes at the end of Lent, a time when we especially try to get closer to Jesus. Mary will always lead us to her Son. She will take us to Him so that He can show us His love and mercy.
Bishop Ralph, along with many priests in the parishes of Hallam, will be making the Re-dedication. Churches, chapels, homes, schools, hospitals and prisons will all be praying together.
Walsingham and its Holy House of Nazareth is the link to this ancient devotion of the people of England to the Mother of God. Mgr John Armitage, Rector of the Walsingham Shrine, said that it was, “a truly blessed day, when the Holy Father blessed the new Dowry Painting in Rome. The painting, which will visit every Catholic parish in England, was then taken to the tomb of St Gregory the Great, the Pope who sent St Augustine to evangelise the people of England. Before his tomb we prayed for his intercession to strengthen our faith to continue this mission to the people of England.”
On the occasion of the Re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary we are invited to unite in her joy by following her openness to God’s call. As a community we come together in prayer by renewing the vows of dedication made to Mary by our ancestors.