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August 14, 2019
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August 14, 2019

Mary’s death and assumption: Beautiful thoughts from the saints

While the Church has no official declaration on whether Mary died before she went to heaven, certain holy people have maintained that she did.

On November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII solemnly defined in the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus the 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.” We know this as the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the celebration of it is a Holy Day of Obligation, celebrated August 15.This solemn definition does not address the question of whether or not Mary physically died before being taken by God into heaven. All the document says is, “having completed the course of her earthly life.”

Catholics are not bound to believe one way or another if Mary died before the Assumption of her body and soul into heaven.

There is an interesting complement to the feast of the Assumption: Those of the Eastern Churches focus more on the Dormition (Sleep) of the Mother of God, also celebrated on August 15, than on her Assumption into heaven.

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