The rededication of England to the Virgin Mary on the 29 March will be going ahead in spite of the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak, with participants making a personal rededication from their homes.
The rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry, an ancient title first used officially in 1381, was first proposed at the November 2017 meeting of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales. The official campaign for the rededication, “Behold 2020”, was launched earlier this year.
The original plan for the rededication included a national tour of a specially commissioned icon depicting Our Lady of Walsingham around every cathedral in England, and services being held in parishes around the country. The icon in question was blessed by the Pope in February this year and was intended to visit every parish church in England after the rededication ceremony.
The escalation of the coronavirus outbreak in the UK, and the suspension of public Masses, has caused the organisers of the rededication to make significant changes to this plan. English Catholics are now being asked to say the rededication prayers individually or in family groups from the privacy of their homes.
Speaking to The Tablet, Jack Valero, the press and media coordinator for Behold 2020, said that the coronavirus pandemic had given the rededication “a new relevance” as Catholics across Europe organise to dedicate their own countries to Mary.
“Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal will all be rededicated to Mary this week, on March 25, in response to the coronavirus pandemic” he explained. These initiatives, organised at short notice and separately from the English campaign, will involve Catholics praying privately, and usually at home.
Valero, who will himself be participating in the rededication from his home, is hopeful that the rededication will allow Catholics “up and down the country” to share their faith with a wider audience through social media.
Valero also stressed that the rededication was always based upon individual prayers; what has changed is the location of the prayers, rather than the nature of the rededication itself. The Behold 2020 campaign is urging Catholics to download the rededication prayers from their website, make their own personal dedication at noon on Sunday 29 March, and to post about the rededication on social media.