By Fr John Waters
In an interview with Vatican News, The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, explained how the planned rededication of England as Mary’s dowry will go ahead, despite the restrictions on British society.
Churches across Britain have closed, in line with medical advice, so as to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
Recaptures ancient Catholic heritage
Speaking to Vatican News, Cardinal Nichols explained that “the rededication is a recapturing of an ancient part of our Catholic heritage.” The Cardinal was referring to the original dedication, made by King Richard II in 1381, during a period of political crisis in England.
Exploring the idea further, Cardinal Nichols told Vatican News that while the word “ ‘dowry’ is a bit of an old fashioned word, it means we make of ourselves a gift to give to Mary, which has always been part of our tradition. And in return we ask for her protection.”
Past and present need the same
Looking at the situation in Britain, with much of the country subject to social distancing and isolation, the Cardinal explained that the need to pray for protection actually fits the present state of affairs quite well.
“What is particularly interesting is that, in 1360 when Richard II was king, the country was recovering from the ravishing of the Black Death, which had slaughtered vast swathes of Europe. Now this virus is not of the same measure, but we still turn to Mary in our hour of need.”
Cardinal Nichols expressed his hope that families would use their time together to enter in the joys of Mary, despite the fears at this time. He suggested reciting the Angelus prayer and then a period of quiet, personal prayer spread across 2 minutes. This could be achieved, despite the closure of churches.
Church response to coronavirus
The Cardinal also explained that many British Catholics have responded to the government’s call for volunteers to help keep society running. The also reminded Vatican news that the Catholic community in Britain is a powerhouse of prayer, asking every day for God’s protection for their country, as well as doing all they can for their neighbours in need.