This day is only one of two holy days of obligation in the Catholic Church’s calendar, the other one being Christmas Day.
The Catholic Church believes that the Blessed Virgin Mary was “assumed”, body and soul, into heaven when she died.
The Feast’s Controversy
As the Sydney Archdiocese reports: “Although commemorated for 2000 years, the Feast of the Assumption has not been without a certain amount of controversy as scholars have argued over whether the Holy Mother's earthly body as well as her soul ascended to heaven. With no eye witness accounts of the actual event ever recorded arguments continued for many years until it was pointed out that no one witnessed the actual resurrection of the Jesus Christ either.”
Pope Pius XII in 1950 declared in his Apostolic Constitution, Munificentissimus Deus, Mary: "having completed the course of her earthly life was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory”.
Pope Francis reflects on the Feast of the Assumption
The gospel for the feast day is Luke 1:39-56. Mary, while pregnant with Jesus, visits Elizabeth and sings the song now known as the Magnificat.
On last year’s Feast of the Assumption, Pope Francis shared: “When Mary arrives, the joy overflows and bursts from the hearts, because the invisible but real presence of Jesus fills everything with meaning: the life, the family, the redemption of the people… Everything!” the pope said.
This explosive happiness is expressed in the Magnificat, “a song praising God who works great things through humble and unknown people, just like Mary, like her spouse Joseph, and also the place where they live, Nazareth,” he added.
“In carrying Jesus, the Madonna also brings us a new joy, filled with meaning,” the pope said.
“She brings a new ability to overcome with faith the most painful and difficult moments; she brings the ability of mercy, to forgive each other, understand each other, support one another.”
Mass Times: Feast of the Assumption - Wednesday 15 August 2018
7.00am - St John's, Lambton
7.30am - St Joseph's, The Junction
8.00am - St Mary Immaculate, Charlestown
8.20am - Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton
9.00am - St Laurence O'Toole, Broadmeadow
12 noon - Sacred Heart Cathedral, Hamilton
5.30pm - Immaculate Heart of Mary, Tighes Hill
6.00pm - St Paul's, Gateshead
7.00pm - Corpus Christi, Waratah
Or check other parishes here