Saint Brigid Religious Education
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West Hartford, CT 06110
Holy Days of Obligation
Feast of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary ~ August 15
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
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
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
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 :
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