Preparations for Rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry begin

Thursday 20th February 2020

On Wednesday 12 February 2020, during his weekly audience, Pope Francis blessed a painting of Our Lady of Walsingham, a shrine dedicated to the Mother of God in Norfolk. The painting, by Amanda de Pulford, will return to Walsingham for the rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry on 29 March 2020 and after the rededication, the Dowry Painting will begin a journey to every Catholic parish in England, including here in our diocese.

The History

Walsingham Shrine, founded almost 1000 years ago, is one of the oldest shrines dedicated to Mary. In pre-reformation times, it ranked with Jerusalem, Rome and Compostela as the most visited sites in Christendom, until it was destroyed in the 16th Century. Medieval pilgrim routes to Walsingham exist from Ely, Norwich and Kings Lynn, where pilgrims from Europe would disembark before travelling the 30 miles to Walsingham on foot. With the resurgence of pilgrimage in Britain, it is expected that many people will want to walk to Walsingham this year.

The first documented dedication of England to Our Lady was made by King Richard II in Westminster Abbey in 1381 as he sought her protection in the face of great political turmoil. It was the first formal occasion when England was known as ‘Mary’s Dowry’, although the title is believed to have an earlier origin. ‘Mary’s Dowry’ means that England was ‘set aside’ as a gift for Mary. This event is commemorated in the Wilton Diptych which is displayed in the National Gallery.

In our Diocese

This rededication is both a personal promise of the people of the country, and a renewal of the entrustment vows made by King Richard II in 1381. On Sunday 29 March 2020, a rededication will take place throughout the country.

The Mass at Salford Cathedral will take place at 11am on 29 March with Bishop Terence Brain saying Mass. Details of further events which will take place over the weekend of the Rededication – both in the Cathedral and across our diocese – will follow.

More information about the rededication, including a map of places which have offered to host services on 29 March, can be found here 

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