Pastoral Letter of The Right Revd Alan Hopes, Bishop of East Anglia

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

While he was hanging on the Cross, Jesus placed his Mother, Mary into the care of the beloved disciple, John: Woman: this is your Son. But first Jesus placed his disciple into the care of his Mother: This is your Mother.

In these few words, Jesus, in Mary, has given his Church the gift of a spiritual mother. She is the Mother of the Church – Jesus has placed his Church under Mary’s special protection.

At the foot of the Cross, Mary herself is a symbol of the Church. In spite of what looks like disaster and the end of everything, Mary continues to look to the future, to the final victory of her Son over all evil forces, never giving up hope, always trusting in her Son.

The Church professes and proclaims that same hope – that in spite of all the struggles and the sufferings we go through, in spite of our failures and sins, which at times look to overwhelm us, we too place our trust in her Son with great confidence.

On the 5th Sunday of Lent this year, March 29th, we are all invited to make a personal Act of Dedication of our country to Our Blessed Lady. As we do so, we shall repeat the Dedication made in 1381 by King Richard II of England, who at a time of great turmoil, promised this land and its people as the dowry of Mary. He turned to Mary for her guidance and protection. He had taken to heart the words of Jesus on the Cross to Our Lady and St John. Later, he gave thanks for his deliverance by making a gift of his country to Mary.

When we are faced with trials and great difficulties and stand at the foot of our own cross, know that Mary always stands alongside us, just as she did with her own Son. With words and gestures, she leads us gently to her Son – in whom we may place our trust and hope with great confidence.

Read the full text of the pastoral letter