Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Solemnity
'See the beauty of the daughter of Jerusalem, who ascended to heaven like the rising sun at dawn.'
"By contemplating Mary in heavenly glory, we understand that the earth is not the definitive homeland for us either, and that if we live with our gaze fixed on eternal goods we will one day share in this same glory and the earth will become more beautiful. Consequently, we must not lose our serenity and peace even amid the thousands of daily difficulties. The luminous sign of Our Lady taken up into Heaven shines out even more brightly when sad shadows of suffering and violence seem to loom on the horizon.
"We may be sure of it: from on high, Mary follows our footsteps with gentle concern, dispels the gloom in moments of darkness and distress, reassures us with her motherly hand. Supported by awareness of this, let us continue confidently on our path of Christian commitment wherever Providence may lead us. Let us forge ahead in our lives under Mary's guidance".
— Pope Benedict XVI.
For hundreds of years, Catholics observed the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary on August 15 -- celebrating Mary's being taken bodily to Heaven after her death -- but it was not until 1950 that the Church proclaimed this teaching a dogma of the Church -- one of the essential beliefs of the Catholic faith.