The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Bishop John Doerfler on the Assumption of Mary

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The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is celebrated on Aug. 15 annually. It is one of the six Holy Days throughout the year when Catholics are obligated to attend Mass along with Sunday.An image of the Assumption by Titian

On Nov. 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII declared the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Father Larry Rice, CSP writes, “Simply put, the Assumption states that at the end of her life, the Blessed Virgin Mary was taken body and soul into heaven.”

His Catholic 101 article for the website, continues, “While this event isn’t reflected in Sacred Scripture, it is clearly part of the Church’s earliest observance. In the 6th century, St. John Damascene wrote in one of his sermons, ‘Your sacred and happy soul, as nature will have it, was separated in death from your most blessed and immaculate body, and although the body was duly interred, it did not remain in the state of death, neither was it dissolved by decay; your most pure and sinless body was not left on earth, but you were transferred to your heavenly throne.’”

Paragraph 966 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: “’Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death.’” The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son’s Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians.”

In an article about the history of the Church’s understanding of the Assumption, Father William Saunders writes, “The belief in the Assumption of our Blessed Mother has been longstanding in our Church. We must remember that the early Church was preoccupied with resolving questions about Christ, particularly His incarnation and the hypostatic union (His divine and human natures). However, in addressing these questions, the Church gradually defined the titles of Mary as Mother of God and as New Eve, and the belief of the Immaculate Conception, all of which form the basis for the Assumption.”

America's first cathedral honors the Assumption. Named the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it is located in Baltimore, Maryland.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a glossary of Marian terms, including the Assumption.

The U.P. Catholic features a Catholic 101 article by Denise Foye, reflections on the Assumption by Pope Benedict XVI given in 2008, and a column relating how Mary wasn't "left behind" by Denise Bossert in the July 18, 2014 issue of the newspaper.

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