Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Solemnity: August 15

Devotion to Mary, as the Mother of God, dates back to the very first days of the Christian community. In recognition of her special role in salvation history, Pope Pius XII declared on Nov. 1, 1950, “We proclaim and define it to be a dogma revealed by God that the Immaculate Mother of God, Mary ever virgin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into the glory of heaven.” (Munificentissimus Deus)

This papal proclamation affirmed the many centuries of devotion which recognized the Blessed Mother’s unique place in God’s plan for humanity. The Holy Father was responding to numerous petitions from bishops, religious, lay associations and academic groups.  Munificentissimus Deus reported that there was “nearly unanimous” approval by bishops for the pope to affirm the dogma. The teaching is related to another Marian dogma, the Immaculate Conception, which states that Mary was conceived without sin.

The papal encyclical Munificentissimus Deus was issued in the aftermath of World War II and its horrors. The encyclical emphasizes  how Mary’s Assumption was not necessary for her salvation, but is a divine gift to Mary as Mother of God. It offers to all faithful a hopeful vision of the end of time and a beautiful example of Christian witness. Mary’s Assumption tells us what God’s plan is for all who faithfully follow Christ.

“Thus, while the illusory teachings of materialism and the corruption of morals that follows from these teachings threaten to extinguish the light of virtue and to ruin the lives of men by exciting discord among them, in this magnificent way all may see clearly to what a lofty goal our bodies and souls are destined. Finally it is our hope that belief in Mary’s bodily Assumption into heaven will make our belief in our own resurrection stronger and render it more effective.” (Munificentissimus Deus, No. 42)

We invite you to visit The National Shrine of Mary, Mother of the Church for all the Marian Feasts, including the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. You can click here to visit our events page.