WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

A Grieving Mary: The Feast of the Assumption… in the light of Laudato Si’ (#241)

WelCom August 2017

Dr Elizabeth Julian rsm

On 15 August each year we celebrate the patronal feast of Aotearoa New Zealand – Mary’s assumption into heaven.

The actual dogma says:

We pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever-Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

Pope Francis reminds us:

… Carried up into heaven, she is the Mother and Queen of all creation. In her glorified body, together with the Risen Christ, part of creation has reached the fullness of its beauty
(LS #241).

Here we see an aspect of the feast that is becoming increasingly important: the goodness of all creation and Mary’s crucial role in a Christian eco-spirituality, that is, one that has Jesus at the centre.

As Pope Francis says, Mary ‘treasures the entire life of Jesus in her heart’, see Lk 2:19, 51, (LS #241).

But where is heaven? Where has Mary been ‘carried up into’? Actually, heaven has a lot to do with earth. Everything is connected! Jesus’ followers didn’t ask what heaven was like but, instead, what they had to do here in the present to get there in the future. Jesus taught his disciples to pray ‘…thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven’.

Furthermore, Pope Francis points out:

Mary, the Mother who cared for Jesus, now cares with maternal affection and pain for this wounded world. Just as her pierced heart mourned the death of Jesus, so now she grieves for the sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power
(LS #241).

If heaven means an end to the sufferings the Pope identifies, resulting in perfect happiness and fullness of life for all, that is, no more poverty, no more injustice, no more hunger, no more environmental destruction and so on, then perhaps we must do something about it here and now as our Archdiocesan Synod theme, ‘Go you are sent!’ dictates. Jesus says feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned etc, as New Zealand poet R A K Mason urges in On the Swag. There is a continuity between ‘now’ (earth) and ‘then’ (heaven). Everything is connected! Our responsibility is to help others experience heaven on earth. We cannot shirk this responsibility by assuring the hungry, the homeless, etc, that their reward awaits them in heaven. Our bodies are important now. They are worthy of the utmost dignity, they deserve to be fed and housed. In other words, they matter here.

The feast of Mary’s Assumption affirms the very goodness of our bodies – the whole person will be saved. Mary has been totally redeemed and now shares fully in the risen life of her son Jesus. She is not a ghost or a spirit floating around in the sky. She is a real bodily person. What happened to her will ultimately happen to us. As we pray in the Creed: ‘We believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.’

Mary ‘…now understands the meaning of all things. Hence, we can ask her to enable us to look at this world with eyes of wisdom’ (LS #241), and to have the courage to honour our responsibility to respect and take care of, not only ourselves and one another, but Earth, ‘our common home’.

Mary assumed into heaven, we grieve with you for the ‘sufferings of the crucified poor and for the creatures of this world laid waste by human power’ (LS #241).

For all things Mary go online to udayton.edu/imri/mary/index.php

Dr Elizabeth Julian rsm is a lecturer and Distance Education Coordinator at the Catholic Institute of Aotearoa New Zealand.

On The Swag


His body doubled
under the pack
that sprawls untidily
on his old back
the cold wet dead-beat
plods up the track.

The cook peers out:
“oh curse that old lag—
here again
with his clumsy swag
made of a dirty old
turnip bag.”

“Bring him in cook
from the grey level sleet
put silk on his body
slippers on his feet,
give him fire
and bread and meat.

Let the fruit be plucked
and the cake be iced,
the bed be snug
and the wine be spiced
in the old cove’s night-cap
for this is Christ.”

– R A K Mason (1930)

Mysteries of the Rosary Ngā Mihiteiria o Te Rōhario

The Assumption is dedicated in the 4th Glorious Mystery of the Rosary.

The Mysteries of the Rosary are meditations on the mysteries surrounding the birth, life and death of Jesus and his Mother Mary – from the Annunciation to the Ascension, the Assumption and beyond. A standard fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary was established by Pope Pius V in the 16th century, grouping the mysteries in three sets: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, and the Glorious Mysteries. In 2002 Pope John Paul II added new set of five called the Luminous Mysteries. The rosary contemplates the life of Christ.

The Joyful Mysteries

1. The Annunciation
Mary learns that she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus.

2. The Visitation
Mary visits Elizabeth, who tells her that she will always be remembered.

3. The Nativity
Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem.

4. The Presentation
Mary and Joseph take the infant Jesus to the Temple to present him to God.

5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple
Jesus is found in the Temple discussing his faith with the teachers.

The Sorrowful Mysteries

1. The Agony in the Garden
Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before he dies.

2. The Scourging at the Pillar
Jesus is lashed with whips.

3. The Crowning With Thorns
Jesus is mocked and crowned with thorns.

4. The Carrying of the Cross
Jesus carries the cross that will be used to crucify him.

5. The Crucifixion
Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies.

The Glorious Mysteries

1. The Resurrection
God the Father raises Jesus from the dead.

2. The Ascension
Jesus returns to his Father in heaven.

3. The Coming of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit comes to bring new life to the disciples.

4. The Assumption of Mary
At the end of her life on earth, Mary is taken body and soul into heaven.

5. The Coronation of Mary
Mary is crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

The Mysteries of Light

1. The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan
God proclaims that Jesus is his beloved Son.

2. The Wedding Feast at Cana
At Mary’s request, Jesus performs his first miracle.

3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God
Jesus calls all to conversion and service to the Kingdom.

4. The Transfiguration of Jesus
Jesus is revealed in glory to Peter, James, and John.

5. The Institution of the Eucharist
Jesus offers his Body and Blood at the Last Supper.

Āwe Meri – Hail Mary

Southern Madonna, Southern Star Abbey.

Āwe Meri, e kī ana koe i te keratia, kei a koe te Ariki, ko koe e whakapainga ana i ngā wāhine, ā, ka whakapainga hoki a Hēhu, te hua o tōu kōpū. E Hāta Maria, te Matua o te Atua, īnoi koe mō mātou he hunga hara āianei, ā, a te haora o to mātou matenga rawa.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.