Consider this… Why is a feast day important? What is it all about?
According to The Roman Pontifical’s “Dedication of a Church and An Altar” (1989), “Every church to be dedicated must have a titular” and “This may be: The Blessed Trinity; our Lord Jesus Christ invoked according to a mystery of his life, or a title already accepted in the liturgy; the Holy Spirit; the Blessed Virgin Mary, likewise invoked according to some appellation already accepted in the liturgy; one of the angels; or, finally, a saint inscribed in the Roman Martyrology or in a duly approved Appendix.” Simply said, the name of a Catholic Church needs to have a special meaning or patron. It would also be a special time of celebration for that parish every year when that patron is remembered.
For us at St. Mary’s, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is the day in which we celebrate our parish. A feast day is a day in which all of us as parishioners and priests of our parish, recognize the special relationship we have with Our Lady who was assumed into heaven. It is through her patronage that our parish functions. Our prayers are interceded to Jesus through the Blessed Mother and I firmly believe that she guides us in a very special way.
A feast day is an important time in a parish community because it is an opportunity for us to reflect upon our patron, ask in a specific way for her continued guidance and also offer her our prayers. As a parishioner of St. Mary’s, each of us is called to remember the Assumption of Mary in a special way. Think of this woman who said yes to God’s call in her life, and how being born without sin allowed her to freely bear God’s son. This gave her a unique role in salvation history that tradition tells us saved Mary from the effects of death.
So how do we celebrate this special day in our parish life? I’m sure you are aware by now that our parish feast day coincides with a Day of Mercy. After the 6 pm mass on Sunday, August 14 there will be exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with confessions for 24 hours. Our Day of Mercy will conclude on Monday, August 15 with our outdoor Mass and picnic at 6 pm. A parish feast day is a great opportunity to prayerfully ask our patron to intercede for us and help us on our journey of life. There can be no better way to celebrate than asking for the forgiveness of Mary’s son for those times we did not say yes to God’s plan like Mary did.
If you’re not able to join in our Day of Mercy and parish celebrations, consider celebrating at home in some special way. At least say an extra Hail Mary and say a prayer for our parish, that we continue to model the life of Mary as the first disciple. Consider going out for ice cream or having a special treat that you can share with someone else. As you’re going out for the special treat, share with them why this day is important for our parish. This is a great way to evangelize and share the good news of our parish with others.
As we approach our 175th anniversary, may the Assumption of Mary continue to guide us on our own pilgrimage of life as we journey to heaven.