Isn’t August just flying by this summer??! This Tuesday, August 15th, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the
dogma of the Assumption as he solemnly proclaimed that the belief whereby the Blessed Virgin Mary, at the close of her earthly life, was taken up, body and soul, into the glory ofheaven. This teachingdefinitively forms part of the deposit of faith, received from the Apostles.To avoid all that is uncertain the Pope did not state either the manner or the circumstances of time and place in which the Assumption took place — only the fact of the Assumption of Mary, body and soul, into the glory of heaven, is Catholic Dogma.
The Assumption is the oldest feast day of Our Lady, but we don't know how it first came to be celebrated. For a time, the "Memory of Mary" was marked only in Palestine, but then it was extended by the emperor to all the churches of the East. In the seventh century, it began to be celebrated in Rome under the title of the "Falling Asleep" ("Dormition") of the Mother of God. Soon the name was changed to the "Assumption of Mary," since there was more to the feast than her dying. It also proclaimed that she had been taken up, body and soul, into heaven. This belief was ancient, dating back to the apostles themselves.
What was clear from the beginning was that there were no relics of Mary to be venerated, and that an empty tomb stood on the edge of Jerusalem near the site of her assumption. That location also soon became a place of pilgrimage and today, the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition of Mary stands on the spot.
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics and so we have a complete schedule of Holy Day Masses. Monday night at 5:00pm we celebrate the Vigil Mass and on Tuesday Mass is at 7:30am and 7:00pm. There is certainly ample opportunity to fulfill your obligation to attend Mass!
It seems that during these summer months some people can get lax about faithfully attendingSunday Mass. Certainly this is true of the Holy Days of Obligation that see few Catholics attend Holy Mass. But even on Sundays people easily skip Mass while on vacation, going to the beach, golfing, or because there is no school or religious education classes. It doesn’t take much of an excuse for some people to forget the Lord on Sundays!
I recently read about a pastor who wrote of growing tired ofthe excuses as to why people don’t go to Mass. He suggestsreplacing “go to Mass” with “washing up” and he writes: “For those who tire of excuses why people don’t go to Mass on Sundays here are the reasons why I never wash. 1. Iwas forced to wash as a child. 2. People who wash are hypocrites, they think they’re cleaner than others. 3. There are so many kinds of soap I could never decide which was right. 4. I used to wash but it’s too boring. 5. I only wash on Christmas and Easter. 6. None of my friends wash. 7. I’ll start washing when I’m older. 8. I really don’t have the time. 9. The bathroom isn’t warm enough. 10. People who make soap are only after your money.”
Some good food for thought for all us. Why do we come to Mass on Sundays and Holy Days? Why do some of our neighbors, family and friends so easily skip Mass? It’s a challenge for all of us to stay faithful to attending Mass and also to welcome back those who fallen away from the practice.
We wind up our Annual Back-Pack Drive for St. Patrick’s Parish in Providence this weekend. If you have not yet made a donation or donated school supplies, I encourage you to do so soon. Our OLM Outreach volunteers and OLM Confirmation Candidates gather in the OLM School Gym to pack up the supplies for delivery to St. Patrick’s on Monday before the Vigil Mass. In the name of Fr. Ruggeri, the Pastor of St. Patrick’s, and the many needy school childrenwho directly benefit from your charity, I offer my sincere thanks! Your generous support isgreatly and deeply appreciated.
Don’t forget to attend Mass on the Assumption! Do good. Be well. God Bless! Go Sox! Beat those Yankees!