Our Lady of Walsingham statue will begin touring from June, as part of the preparation for the re-dedication of England as the “Dowry of Mary”.
England was dedicated as the Dowry of Mary by Cardinal Bernard Griffin in 1948 and according to the tour organisers’ website, the re-dedication aims to once again enlist her “loving care and protection of our country”.The event will take place around the Solemnity of the Annunciation in 2020 and is part of the New Evangelisation programme – a mission initiative of the Catholic Church.
According to the organisers, the phrase “Dowry of Mary” is understood to mean that England has been “set apart” for Mary. It goes back to the time of St Edward the Confessor (1042-1066), but the first recording of the description can be found in a 14th Century painting of King Richard II holding a parchment carrying the words: “This is your dowry, O pious Virgin”.
In the run-up to the re-dedication, the statue of Our Lady, from the Slipper Chapel at the Catholic National Shrine in Walsingham, will be taken to each cathedral in England for a three-day triduum of prayer starting on 21 June 2018 at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral.
The programme will run at each cathedral from Thursday to Saturday and will include talks on the Dowry, an exhibition and Mass and Adoration.
The two-year Dowry tour is being jointly organised by the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham and the Guild of Our Lady of Ransom, with full support of the bishops.
The tour will conclude in Westminster Cathedral in 2020, with the exact date yet to be confirmed.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols called the re-dedication, “a moment of great promise…for the Church in this country and for our mission”.