Saint Brigid Religious Education
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Holy Days of Obligation

Feast of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary ~ August 15

On 15th August each year, the Church celebrates Mary's entry into eternal life and happiness. Her Assumption is a sign of hope for the Church and for all people. Where Mary has gone we hope to follow.

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary has a double object: 1. the happy departure of Mary from this life and 2.  the assumption of her body into heaven. It is the principal feast of the Blessed Virgin.

Regarding the day, year, and manner of Our Lady's death, nothing certain is known. The earliest known literary reference to the Assumption is found in Greek work. Catholic faith, however, has always derived our knowledge of the mystery from Apostolic Tradition. The dates assigned for it vary between three and fifteen years after Christ's Ascension. Two cities claim to be the place of her departure, Jerusalem and Ephesus. Common consent favors Jerusalem, where her tomb is shown, but some argue in favor of Ephesus. The first six centuries did not know of the tomb of Mary at Jerusalem.

The belief in the assumption of Mary is founded  in the sermons of St. Andrew of Crete , St. John Damascene , St. Modestus of Jerusalem and others.  St. Juvenal, Bishop of Jerusalem, at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, made known to the Emperor Marcian and Pulcheria, who wished to possess the body of the Mother of God, that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened, upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; where from the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven. Today, the belief in the corporeal assumption of Mary is universal in the East and in the West.  According to Benedict XIV it is a probable opinion, which to deny were impious and blasphemous.

Regarding the origin of the feast we are also uncertain. That it originated at the time of the Council of Ephesus , or that St. Damasus introduced it in Rome is only a hypothesis. According to the life of St. Theodosius it was celebrated in Palestine before the year 500, probably in August.

November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII declared infallibly that the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was a dogma of the Catholic Faith. Likewise, the Second Vatican Council taught in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium that "the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, when her earthly life was over, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things.

Mary is our refuge, the refuge of sinners. We bring to her all our desires and longings. We lift up to her the little ones of this world, the sick members of our society, those afflicted with any kind of addiction, marriage problems, children from broken homes, those in irregular relationships. Where ever there is pain and sorrow let us bring it to Mary, the comforter of the afflicted.

Mary leads us to Jesus, and like Mary, we believe that "the promises of the Lord will be fulfilled for nothing is impossible to God." Luke 1 : 38.

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