The statue of Our Lady of Walsingham from the shrine’s famous Slipper Chapel is coming to St Mary’s Cathedral this advent as part of a two-year “Dowry Tour”.

The tour is part of the spiritual preparation for England’s rededication as the Dowry of Mary in 2020.

Although the exact origin of this title is unknown, in medieval times it was widely used to express the belief that England belonged in a special way to Mary as the country’s protector.

The statue will come to Middlesbrough from Thursday December 13 to Saturday December 15, beginning with a Mass of welcome and an opportunity for prayer.

The cathedral will be open throughout the day to welcome people to come and pay their respects. Visitors are invited to bring flowers and there will be talks about Our Lady of Walsingham and an exhibition.

A dementia-friendly carol concert will take place during the statue’s visit.

The statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was given a place of honour during Pope Saint John Paul II’s visit to England in 1982.

Speaking of the rededication, which will take place around the Solemnity of the Annunciation in March 2020, Cardinal Vincent Nichols said: “This is a moment of great promise for the Church in this country and for our mission.”

The feast is at the heart of Our Lady’s message at Walsingham and celebrates the angel Gabriel’s appearance to the Virgin Mary, announcing that she had been chosen to be the Mother of Our Lord.

We are invited to rediscover what the Dowry of Mary title of England means for us today and for future generations to come.

The village of Walsingham, in Norfolk, has been a major centre of pilgrimage for almost 1,000 years and now has both Catholic and Anglican shrines, as well as an Orthodox chapel.

*There are still some places available on our annual diocesan pilgrimage to Walsingham from Saturday October 27 to Sunday October 28. The cost is £85, including transport, evening meal, B&B and Sunday lunch. Please call Jenny Dowson on 01642 850505 for details.

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