Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110

Holy Days of Obligation

Feast of Ascension Thursday ~  40 days after Easter

Traditionally, the Feast of the Ascension is marked 40 days after Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. It is seen as the final act of our redemption, that Christ began on Good Friday.

Catholic belief is that the Risen Christ ascended bodily into heaven, in the sight of his apostles. The Ascension is so central to the Catholic faith that it is included in the Apostlesí Creed, ďHe ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father".  To deny Christís Ascension is to deny his Resurrection. Catholics believe Christís bodily Ascension to be a precursor to our own entrance into heaven, not only our souls, but as glorified bodies, after the resurrection of the dead at the Final Judgment.

Before his Ascension, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to his apostles. Their prayer for the Holy Spiritís coming began on Ascension Thursday, and ended with the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday, 10 days later.

The Resurrection is narrated in Mark 16:19, Luke 24:51, and in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles .

Although the place of the Ascension is not distinctly stated, it would appear from the Acts that it was Mount Olivet. Since after the Ascension the disciples are described as returning to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet , which is near Jerusalem, within a Sabbath day's journey. Tradition has consecrated this site as the Mount of Ascension and Christian piety has memorialized the event by erecting over the site a basilica.

St. Helena built the first memorial, which was destroyed by the Persians in 614, rebuilt in the eighth century, to be destroyed again, but rebuilt a second time by the crusaders. The Moslems also destroyed the memorial, leaving only the octagonal structure which encloses the stone said to bear the imprint of the feet of Christ, that is now used as an oratory.

Not only is the fact of the Ascension related in the passages of Scripture cited above, but it is also elsewhere predicted and spoken of as an established fact.

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