The feast of the Assumption of Mary is celebrated Aug. 15. Although it is not mentioned in scripture, the Assumption has been a solidly held belief of Catholic faith since apostolic times and has been celebrated liturgically since the 6th century AD.
The Assumption of Mary was declared a dogma — a divinely revealed truth — of the Catholic Church by Pope Pius XII in 1950 in Munificentissimus Deus, which states,“The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heaven.”
The Solemnity of the Assumption celebrates Mary’s entrance into heavenly glory. The Catechism explains that Mary “was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven, where she already shares in the glory of her Son’s Resurrection, anticipating the resurrection of all members of his Body” (CCC, 974).
Mary’s Assumption into heaven reminds us that life on earth is a pilgrimage to our ultimate destination. We prepare in hope for our own passage into eternal life by the choices we make today. When we choose to love and follow God in our daily lives, we strengthen our relationship with Him, and this relationship is the true meaning of heaven: “To live in heaven is ‘to be with Christ’”(CCC, 1025 citing St. Ambrose, In Luc.,10,121:PL 15 1834A.).
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Image, Wikimedia Commons: Painting by Laurent de La Hyre, France, circa 1653.