England will be re-dedicated as the Dowry of Mary in 2020, the rector of Walsingham Shrine has said.
Mgr John Armitage announced the plans while promoting a new prayer booklet encouraging Catholics to pray a novena to Our Lady of Walsingham.
Mgr Armitage, who became rector in 2014, helped to update the booklet. He told Independent Catholic News: “This novena in honour of Our Lady of Walsingham is the beginning of a National Novena of Prayer for our country which will help us prepare spiritually for the re-dedication of England as the Dowry of Mary in 2020 on the Solemnity of the Annunciation.”
England has been called the “Dowry of Mary” since around the 11th century. The title means that she acts in a special way as the nation’s protectress.
After the Reformation, the title was used by recusants and Catholics in exile. In 1893, Pope Leo XIII told English pilgrims in Rome of “the wonderful filial love which burnt within the heart of your forefathers towards the great Mother of God.”
The novena, whose text can be found at http://www.walsingham.org.uk/novena, is especially intended to be begun today, so as to finish on September 23, a day before the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Mgr Armitage said: “It is hoped that through this novena every part of the Church in England and Wales will deeply embrace Our Lady of Walsingham as the powerful intercessor for these lands.
It was a chance, he said, to reclaim “the great spiritual heritage which is ours of being the Dowry of Mary.”
Cardinal Nichols: Brexit can mean new opportunities
Cardinal Vincent Nichols has said that Brexit is not about Britain “becoming an isolated unit, but finding a different place in the world and in relation to Europe”.
Cardinal Nichols, who argued last year that leaving the European Union would create “complex problems” and lead to “further division”, said that while there was much uncertainty around negotiations, he saw “an emerging popular view which says we are not turning in on ourselves but looking for more opportunities”.
He was speaking to The Tablet ahead of the release of his new book, Hope in Action. The book, published by SPCK, draws together speeches and homilies on subjects ranging from trafficking to extremism.
In the interview Cardinal Nichols said that Christianity provided a certain foundation for hope. Secularisation, therefore, meant “young people are losing the tools with which to construct a vision of hope”, he said. “That’s not good news to anybody.”
He observes a “growing gap between what people think and what political leadership says we should want”. This can help lead to “populism”.
Bishop hails ‘rock-like’ cardinal
Bishop Mark O’Toole has said that Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was “thoroughly focused” on making his last days “a culmination of how he’d lived his life”, with “humility, and with a very deep, rock-like faith”. The bishop celebrated Mass for Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor at the parish of Our Lady of Grace and St Edward in Chiswick, West London, to which the cardinal had retired.