A message from Father John
Apart from wishing to keep in touch with you during this stressful time, I thought it important also to remind everyone that tomorrow has been designated as the day on which England is to be rededicated as “The Dowry of Mary”.
Some while ago Bishop Mark reminded the clergy of the Diocese about this, but of course plans have since been affected by the present Covid-19 crisis. Here is a slightly edited version of what Bishop Mark wrote to us; please note that this was written before the current crisis began:
"England has been known as the ‘Dowry of Mary’ for up to 1,000 years, going back to the time of St Edward the Confessor (1042-1066), in whose reign the replica of the Holy House of Nazareth was built. On the Feast of Corpus Christi, 1381, King Richard II dedicated England to Mary as ‘her dowry.’ He went on pilgrimage to Walsingham two years later. So, for 1,000 years, Walsingham has been the great shrine of prayer and pilgrimage for the people of this country in honour of Our Lady.
On 29 March 2020, England will be rededicated as the ‘Dowry of Mary.’ I will be celebrating Mass in the Cathedral that day and making the rededication at the end of Mass. This will happen in other Catholic Cathedrals across the country and in Walsingham, and parishes are invited to participate, too, by making the rededication at the end of the main Mass, that morning. The following link gives more details of how to participate in the rededication, both as a parish and personally. https://www.behold2020.com/take-part
The Angelus is a most suitable prayer to prepare us, recalling, as it does, some essential moments in the History of Salvation, reminding us of Mary’s ‘yes’ to the Angel Gabriel, which undid Eve’s ‘no’ in the Garden of Eden. We profess our faith in ‘The Word, who was made flesh, and dwelt amongst us,’ and in his Death and Resurrection, the eternal destiny to which each of us is called in Christ.
Individuals can make their own personal rededication, at home, or wherever they are, by praying the Angelus. I hope that as we each rededicate ourselves to Our Lady, these may indeed be days of rich blessing for us all.”
Here is a link to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, where you will find more information about the rededication, along with prayers and resources:
I hope and trust this will be of interest to you and encourage you to take part if you can. At this time, more than ever, we are much in need of the powerful intercession and protection of Our Lady.
Some of you may have watched the Holy Father’s Urbi et Orbi Blessing from St Peter’s in Rome yesterday evening.
I am attaching to this email the full text of his address, which is well worth reading and pondering
We may not be able to meet together physically, but spiritually we are united in prayer and for me that feels almost tangible - I hope it does for you too.
Also, a parishioner has told me about this short video by Bishop Robert Barron, which is very well worth watching:
Hoping that you are all safe and well, and wishing you every blessing in these difficult and testing days.
With my love and prayers,
- Mass is being live streamed and recorded in plymouth, which are available here
- As mass is celebrated in the Cathedral and all the parish churches of our Diocese each day, it ensures that the prayer of the church continues unabated and the Sacrifice of the Mass is still offered
- Father John is able to accept Mass intentions over email
Dispensation from Easter Duties
In their letter of 18th March 2020, the President and the Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said “in these emergency circumstances, and for as long as they last, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days is removed. This is, without doubt, the teaching of the Church (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2181). This pandemic is the 'serious reason' why this obligation does not apply at this time.”
Many of the faithful will be aware of their Easter Duties; that is to receive Holy Communion during the Easter Season and by custom, to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation beforehand. The Code of Canon Law (CIC 920) says each of the faithful is obliged to receive holy communion at least once a year. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year. The requirement for the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation comes from the need to be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion (CIC 916).
As it is not possible for the faithful to receive Holy Communion at this time, and into the future, the Bishops of England and Wales have dispensed the Easter Duties for the year 2020.
The Bishops have asked that all should make a Perfect Act of Contrition at this time. Perfect contrition (or a Contrition of Charity) is true and real sorrow for our sins which is created when we realise the immense love of God for each one of us. We express this contrition when we realise how we offend God by our sinful words, deeds and omissions in contrast to the immeasurable love and mercy that he continually shows us.
This requires us to be contrite of heart for what we have done, know and be overwhelmed by the love and mercy of God for his children, and to approach this grace with humility and resolution not to sin again.An Act of Contrition: My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.
Let us intensify our prayer in these days for England and all nations during this time of great crisis:
1. Join the Walsingham Shrine livestream for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying especially for the elderly, the vulnerable, for those on the front line and in our NHS, for those in Government and leadership, and all our priests and bishops,
2. Pray the Rosary for Our Lady of Walsingham's intentions for England her Dowry
3. Invoke the intercession of the English Saints and Martyrs through praying the Litany
4. Pray for the conversion of heart of the people of England and all nations and peoples.
A message from Bishop Mark
Here is a video of Bishop Mark speaking to us.