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WALSINGHAM, United Kingdom, April 1, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — This past Sunday, Catholics in England rededicated the country as “Our Lady’s Dowry” while observing the government-imposed nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.

The rededication took place in Walsingham, the national shrine to Our Lady, which has been a site of pilgrimage and devotion since 1061

Since public attendance at church services is banned during the COVID-19 lockdown, Catholics around the country joined in making the rededication prayers from their homes.

More than half a million people are estimated to have viewed the rededication via live-streaming services, with the website of the Walsingham shrine crashing due to the high number of users. 

Monsignor John Armitage, rector of the Walsingham shrine, said during his homily that the rededication was being made in “the eye of the storm.” 

“In the face of the peril that we find ourselves in today, in addition to the physical resilience we need to protect ourselves, a stronger spiritual resilience will be needed to survive the ordeal ahead and to rebuild our society in the coming days,” Armitage said.

Armitage explained that the event showed “the people of England following in the footsteps of King Richard II, who in the face of great political turmoil in 1381 went to the shrine of Our Lady of Puy in Westminster Abbey to seek her guidance and protection.”

Armitage added that “the fruitfulness of England in the days to come will be dependent on the faithfulness of her people.”

In a message of support for the rededication, Catholic priest and co-founder of the International Association of Exorcists, Fr. Jeremy Davies, said the event was an opportunity for “real repentance.”

“We are in the midst of the war between Our Lady and the Dragon (Apocalypse 12),” Davies said. 

“Victory does not depend upon the faithful being physically present with their Bishop in his consecration, but upon each one of us, wherever we are, making our own consecration: sincerely repenting of all our habits of compromise, all our refusals to follow Our Lord fully as complete disciples of His words and of the Holy Spirit: a real repentance, a new beginning!”