Come, let us adore the King of kings: today his Virgin Mother was taken up to heaven.
Year: B(I). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: White.
The Feast of the Assumption
The commemoration of the death of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Dormition, or falling asleep, as it was known in the East) is known as the Assumption because of the tradition that her body did not decay but that she was raised up, body and soul, into heaven. This tradition was already present in the sixth century; by the beginning of the twentieth century it was widespread (for details, see this article
in the Catholic Encyclopaedia); and after consulting the views of bishops all over the world, the Pope formally and infallibly declared the doctrine of the Assumption to be part of the authentic and ancient doctrine of the universal Church.
In other years: Saints Pontian and Hippolytus ( - 235)
Hippolytus was a priest and a learned man, the most important writer of the Church at Rome in the early third century. He strongly attacked the popes of the time, and was set up as a rival Pope to St Callistus. Some time later, in Maximin’s persecution, he was sent to labour in the quarries of Sardinia. There he met the then Pope, Pontian, and was reconciled with him.
Pontian was made Pope in 231, and was sent to the quarries in 235, where he resigned the papacy and died.
Pontian’s successor, Fabian, had both bodies brought back to Rome for burial, and Pontian and Hippolytus were already being venerated by the Roman Church by the start of the fourth century.
Other saints: Saint Fachtna or Fachanan of Ross
He is patron saint of the diocese of Ross, of which he was probably the first bishop. He established the monastic school of Ross, at what is now Rosscarbery, in county Cork, one of the most famous schools of Ireland, which flourished for three hundred years.
Other saints: Blessed William Freeman (-1595)
William Freeman was born in Yorkshire and studied at Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1586 he witnessed the execution of a Catholic priest in London, and this made such an impression on him that he was reconciled to the Church and left England to study for the priesthood. He was ordained at Rheims in France in 1589. For six years he worked in secret as a priest in Worcestershire and Warwickshire. He was arrested at Alvechurch, condemned to death for being a priest and hanged, drawn and quartered at Warwick on 13 August 1595. At the gallows he said: “I came hither to die for my faith, the true ancient and Catholic faith”. He was beatified by Pope Pius XI in 1929.
Liturgical colour: white
White is the colour of heaven. Liturgically, it is used to celebrate feasts of the Lord; Christmas and Easter, the great seasons of the Lord; and the saints. Not that you will always see white in church, because if something more splendid, such as gold, is available, that can and should be used instead. We are, after all, celebrating.
In the earliest centuries all vestments were white – the white of baptismal purity and of the robes worn by the armies of the redeemed in the Apocalypse, washed white in the blood of the Lamb. As the Church grew secure enough to be able to plan her liturgy, she began to use colour so that our sense of sight could deepen our experience of the mysteries of salvation, just as incense recruits our sense of smell and music that of hearing. Over the centuries various schemes of colour for feasts and seasons were worked out, and it is only as late as the 19th century that they were harmonized into their present form.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Judith 13:17-18 ©|
Overcome with emotion, the people all fell on their knees and worshipped God, exclaiming as one man, ‘Blessings on you, our God, for confounding your people’s enemies today!’ Uzziah then said to Judith: ‘May you be blessed, my daughter, by God Most High, beyond all women on earth.’
|Noon reading (Sext)||Apocalypse 12:1 ©|
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman, adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head for a crown.
|Afternoon reading (None)||2 Corinthians 5:1 ©|
We know that when the tent that we live in on earth is folded up, there is a house built by God for us, an everlasting home not made by human hands, in the heavens.