Feast of the Assumption of Mary

According to the belief of Christians of the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Catholic Churches, Eastern Orthodoxy, Oriental Orthodoxy, and parts of the Anglican Communion and Continuing Anglicanism, the Assumption of Mary was the bodily taking up of the Virgin Mary into Heaven at the end of her life. The Roman Catholic Church teaches as dogma that the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.” This doctrine was dogmatically and infallibly defined by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950, in his Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus. This belief is known as the Dormition of the Theotokos by the Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches. In the churches which observe it, the Assumption is a major feast day, commonly celebrated on August 15. In many countries it is a Catholic Holy Day of Obligation.

In his August 15, 2004, homily given at Lourdes, Pope John Paul II quoted John 14:3 as one of the scriptural bases for understanding the dogma of the Assumption of Mary. In this verse, Jesus tells his disciples at the Last Supper, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also.” According to Catholic theology, Mary is the pledge of the fulfillment of Christ’s promise.

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