Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary August 15

Shipping Notice

Loyola Press offices will be closed beginning 4:30 pm (CST) on Friday, December 20th, 2019 through Friday, January 3rd, 2020. All orders placed on our website or by email during that period will begin processing on Monday, January 6th, 2020. Order early to avoid shipping delays. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Sunday Connection

Sunday Connection

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. The Sunday Connection provides useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Thursday, August 15, 2019

This Sunday's Readings

First Reading
Revelation 11:19a; 12:1-6a,10ab
The sign of God's salvation will be a woman clothed with the sun.

Responsorial Psalm
Psalm 45:10-12,16
The queen takes her place next to God.

Second Reading
1 Corinthians 15:20-27
Christ has redeemed Adam's sin.

Gospel Reading
Luke 1:39-56
Mary greets Elizabeth and sings God's praise.

Background on the Gospel Reading

Today's feast celebrates Mary's Assumption into heaven. It is one of three feasts of Mary that are Holy Days of Obligation for Catholics in the United States. January 1 is the feast of Mary, the Mother of God, and December 8 is the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven has long been held as an important Catholic belief. The belief was not defined as dogma, however, until 1950 by Pope Pius XII. The dogma teaches that Mary, who was without sin, was taken, body and soul, into the glory of heaven.

The Gospel for this holy day recalls Mary's actions after the announcement of Jesus' birth by the Angel Gabriel. Mary goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is also with child. Elizabeth greets Mary with full recognition of the roles they and their unborn children will play in God's plan for salvation. Mary responds to Elizabeth's greeting with her song of praise, the Magnificat. Both women recall and echo God's history of showing favor upon the people of Israel. Mary's Magnificat, in particular, echoes the song of praise offered by Hannah, the mother of Samuel.

The Gospel for this day reminds us that Mary's Assumption into heaven is best understood with regard for the full spectrum of Catholic beliefs about the person of Christ and the person of Mary. Only Mary, who was born without stain of original sin—the Immaculate Conception—could give birth to Christ, who is fully God and fully human. This is called the Immaculate Conception. Because of Mary's role in God's plan of salvation, she does not suffer from the effects of sin, which are death and decay. Mary is the first to receive the fullness of the redemption that her son has won for all of humanity. The Church, therefore, recognizes Mary as the sign of the salvation promised to all.

Today's Gospel highlights Mary's faith. Mary's faith enabled her to recognize the work of God in her people's history and in her own life. Her openness to God allowed God to work through her so that salvation might come to all. Mary is a model and symbol of the Church. May we be like Mary, open and cooperative in God's plan of salvation.

Jan Frans Beschey, Assumption of the Virgin, 1750-1767, oil on copper, Hermitage Museum.

Gospel Reading
Luke 1:39-56
Mary greets Elizabeth and sings God's praise.

Making the Connection (Grades 1, 2, and 3)

Younger children may need support in recognizing and appreciating the many wonderful ways that God works in our lives. With Mary as our model, we praise God for all he does for us.

Materials Needed

  • paper, colored pencils or markers

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Say: God does so many wonderful things for us. When we are aware of these many things, we can praise God in prayer or song. We can also make art to praise God. Think of someone or something you want to praise God for. Draw a picture. Give children time to complete their pictures.
  2. Say: Mary recognized the wonderful things God did through her, and she praised him. Ask: What did Mary say when God told her she would be Jesus’ mother? (She said yes.) Say: In today’s Gospel reading, Mary visits Elizabeth. Both of them are about to become mothers. Let’s pay attention to learn how Mary praises God.
  3. Read aloud Luke 1:39–56.
  4. Say: Mary praises God for all he has done for her and for his people. God truly blessed Mary. Today we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. We remember that Mary was taken to heaven, body and soul.
  5. Let’s sing a song praising God for our blessings, just as Mary did. When it’s your turn, show us your drawing and tell us what you drew. Then we’ll sing together, “We praise you God.” After each child has shared his or her art, close by praying together Amen.

Gospel Reading
Luke 1:39-56
Mary greets Elizabeth and sings God's praise.

Making the Connection (Grades 4, 5, and 6) 

Mary's song of praise reminds us that God is always working for the salvation of the world. We foster a spirit of praise and thanksgiving when we invite young people to recognize that God is still working in their lives today.

Materials Needed

  • Copies of Mary's Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) for each person in the group

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Say: We are celebrating an important holy day in our Church year. On August 15 we celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this day we remember that Mary was taken to heaven, body and soul. Our Gospel reading for today is taken from Luke's Gospel, and it tells us why Mary received such a special privilege from God. Let's listen carefully to this Gospel.
  2. Invite one or more volunteers to read aloud Luke 1:39-56.
  3. Ask: Who are the two people spoken about in today's Gospel? (Elizabeth and Mary) What is about to happen to each of them? (Both of them are expecting a baby.) Say: Remember that Elizabeth is the mother of John the Baptist. She was very old and had not yet had any children. But God chose her and Zechariah to be the parents of John the Baptist, who was to announce Jesus' coming. How does Mary respond to Elizabeth's greeting? (She sings a song of praise to God.)
  4. Distribute a copy of the Magnificat to each person. Ask them to read this prayer carefully.
  5. Ask: What are some of the things for which Mary praises God? (Accept all reasonable answers.) Say: Mary's faith allowed her to recognize God's work in her life and in her people's history. She is a model for the Church because of her participation in God's plan of salvation.
  6. Say: Using Mary's song of praise as a model, let's write a prayer of praise thanking God for the things that God is doing in our lives and in our world today. Work together as a group to prepare your song of praise.
  7. Conclude in prayer together, using the song of praise that your group has written.

Gospel Reading
Luke 1:39-56
Mary greets Elizabeth and sings God's praise.

Making the Connection (Grades 7 and 8)

Young people at this age want to know specifics about what they are being asked to do and why they should do it. The story of Mary's calling to be the Mother of Jesus shows how faith calls us to place our trust in God even when we don't know all of the specifics.

Materials Needed

  • None

Preparation for Sunday Scripture Readings

  1. Ask if any of the young people have seen the Mission Impossible movies (starring Tom Cruise). Explain that as the lead agent of the IMF (Impossible Mission Force), Tom Cruise's character, always received detailed instructions for what he was asked to do.
  2. Say: Even though his task seemed impossible, he was given a clear idea of what his mission was and how he should accomplish it. In the Gospel for the Feast of the Assumption, we learn that Mary has been given what might seem like an impossible mission. However, she was given very few details.
  3. Tell the young people that, when Mary was a young girl, about the age of 15, the angel Gabriel visited her. Say: Gabriel told Mary that she would give birth to the Son of God. Mary questioned how this could happen. But when Gabriel explained that the Holy Spirit would come upon her, Mary agreed to be Jesus' Mother.
  4. Say: After being asked to accept such a challenging mission, we might expect Mary to complain to others. Instead, we hear in the Gospel that she reacted quite differently.
  5. Have a volunteer read aloud the Gospel for the Feast of the Assumption, Luke 1:39-56.
  6. Ask: How would you describe Mary's reaction to her mission? (great joy, acceptance, humility)
  7. Have another volunteer reread Mary's response to Elizabeth, verses 46-55.
  8. Say: This passage has become one of our most beautiful prayers, the Magnificat.
  9. Ask: What does Mary tell us about how to live a faith-filled life? (Place our trust in God even if we are not sure of where he is leading us.)
  10. Conclude by praying a Hail Mary, pointing out that some of the phrases of this prayer come from Elizabeth's greeting (“[B]lessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”).

Gospel Reading
Luke 1:39-56
Mary greets Elizabeth and sings God's praise.

Family Connection

In today's Gospel, Elizabeth and Mary recognize the work that God is doing through them. With eyes of faith they see the power and salvation of God breaking through into their lives and into the world.

Gather as a family and talk about what you know about Mary and her being a model of faith. Recall that we are celebrating a holy day, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. On this day we remember that God took Mary to heaven, body and soul. Read together today's Gospel, Luke 1:39-56. In this reading we hear Mary's song of praise to God, the Magnificat. Invite each person in the family to write or draw one or more ways in which they see God working in your family life and in our world today. Use these prayers of thanksgiving to create your family's song of praise to God. Conclude by praying together this song of praise.