King Richard II made the first dedication in 1381. English religious leader speaks of new “national challenges.”
The rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham said that a rededication of England as the “Dowry of Mary,” scheduled for March 29, will help the nation face “the personal and national challenges of our day,” according to Crux News.
Pope Francis was scheduled Wednesday to bless the painting of Our Lady of Walsingham being used in the ceremony.
It’s a tradition dating to 1381, when King Richard II dedicated England, then in the midst of the Peasants’ Revolt. More than 1,500 people were killed during the anti-tax uprising. King Richard went to the shrine of Our Lady of Puy in Westminster Abbey to seek her guidance and protection, said Msgr. John Armitage, the rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, England’s national Marian shrine.
“In thanksgiving he returned and gave the country as a gift — a dowry — to Our Lady for her continued protection and guidance,” Msgr. Armitage told Crux. “So, we the Catholics of England today follow in that tradition; faced with the personal and national challenges of our day we turn to her once again and offer our faith as she leads us to her Son.”
Crux said that the medieval understanding of “dowry” was something “set aside” by a man for his wife in the event of his death.
The rededication was proposed at the November 2017 meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. As Crux explained, the process includes a national tour of the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham to every cathedral in England, while concurrently encouraging pilgrimages to the shrine, located in Norfolk, in the East of England.
“It is taking place in 2020 quite simply to address the fact that the understanding of the ancient title of England as the Dowry of Mary, indicating the great love of Our Lady by the people of England, has declined, and needs to be highlighted for this generation, and also to promote the Message of Our Lady at Walsingham to ‘Share my Joy at the Annunciation’ for Walsingham is a Marian Shrine of the Incarnation,” Armitage said.
He expressed his hope that the tour will help English Catholics “to remember our remarkable spiritual heritage that will bring honor to the past and hope for the people of today as they seek to take to heart the words of Our Lady at Cana: ‘Do whatever he tells you.’”
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