Assumption of Mary into Heaven: What it is and why Catholics celebrate it?

On Sunday, August 15, Catholics across the world celebrated the Assumption of Mary into Heaven. The belief of Mary seeing Heaven is itself not a dispute among Christians—where many of the faithful dissent is the veneration of the mother of Jesus by Catholics.

So, yet another day set aside to celebrate the virgin of virgins was sure to generate controversy, even among Catholics. 

Delivering the sermon at Sacred Heart Cathedral Ho, visiting priest from Ola Girls Senior High, Rev. Fr. Alex Akpah, began with highlighting the importance of Mary in the Christian story. The mother of the Saviour, he said cannot be treated like an envelope containing a letter. Father Felix Akpa

“Usually, when you get your letter, only the piece of paper on which it is written is important to you so you discard the envelope. We as Christians cannot treat Mary as an envelope and discard her because we have the Christ,” Fr. Akpah noted. 

He highlighted the importance of Mary’s intercession in the lives of Christians, adding that even at Canaan, it took Mary’s intercession for Jesus to perform his first ever miracle.Virgin Mary

The Assumption

After noting the importance of Mary to believers with multiple instances including her visit to Elizabeth who bore a child—John, in her old age, Fr. Akpah then delved into the Assumption story.

He explained that Jesus, the salvation could not allow his place of abode for nine months to be corrupted. Mary, he preached, was therefore assumed into Heaven Body and Soul.

Picking His Homily in part from the book of Revelations—the reading of the day, which states: “A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars…” – Rev. 12, Fr. Akpah explained the phenomenon as being Mary before she gave birth to Christ. The Dragon, he explained was King Herod which the gospels say sought to kill Jesus. 


Non-Catholics, and indeed even some Catholics continue to dispute most teachings about Mary, including the fact that she died a virgin and has seen the face of the Lord.

Only faith can change that and not repeated apologetics, as Fr. Akpah puts it.

The concluding part of Sunday’s gospel can, perhaps be a starting point for anybody who doubts the importance of Mary and wants to understand the subject more:

In Luke 1:46 downward, Mary sings a song of praise to God where she says:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name….”


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