Rededicating England to Mary
The day of Rededication of England as the ‘Dowry of Mary’ has finally arrived, but none of us expected it would take place under these conditions. We were going to have a big ceremony with a procession, but now it will have to be made privately and individually. This in itself is not a disaster because we are all being asked to dedicate ourselves as individuals to Mary. We want her as our advocate. There is an old joke about JESUS being troubled when He saw a lot of souls in Heaven He didn’t recognise. So He went to St Peter (the holder of the keys) and asked how all these people were getting in, to which Peter replied, “Lord, it’s Your Mother keeps who keeps letting them in through the window!” So we want Mary as our intercessor. She is the Help of Christians and also the Refuge of Sinners. Many of the saints have said no client of Mary will ever be lost.
The first dedication of our country to Mary was made by King Richard II in 1381 in Westminster Abbey. He was seeking her protection of England amidst political turmoil, and it was at this point England was placed under Our Lady’s guidance and protection and became known as the ‘Dowry of Mary’. The dedication coincided with the growth of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham into one of the four great pilgrimage destinations of Medieval Europe. Although destroyed by Henry VIII, the shrine was re-established in the 19th Century, and the English bishops decided in 2017 that a rededication was desirable given the rapid de-Christianisation of the country.
So I invite you all to join with me at 11am this Sunday in making the dedication, so as we can be truly united as a Parish in this act. The text is included with this newsletter. Mary is the Patron of our Parish and you may remember one of my first acts as Parish Priest was to consecrate the Parish to her Immaculate Heart on the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima on 13th October 2017. You will find the text of Rededication on the parish website and there is also a copy included with this newsletter.
May God bless you all and may Our Lady guard us and protect us. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Fr Paul Gillham, IC