The Second Vatican Council reminds us that Mary is a member of the Church who “occupies a place in the Church which is the highest after Christ and also closest to us.” (LG, #54) She is the first and the greatest of all the Disciples of Christ. 

Our Lady of the Assumption is the Patroness of the United States as well as the Patroness of the Diocese of Trenton. When Pat and I went on pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to Italy, Portugal, Spain and France, we saw many images of Mary’s Assumption. In Israel, we even visited a room reported to be the place of Our Lady’s “Dormition’ or sleep. Earliest Christians believed that Mary did not die, but went to sleep and was taken up to heaven, body and soul. 

Romans 6:23 tells us “The gift of God is eternal life. The wages of sin is death.” 

Genesis describes the creation of Adam and Eve in the state of grace. They were living in total relationship with their Creator, walking and talking with God. There was neither sickness, nor death until they succumbed to the temptation of Satan and ate the forbidden fruit. Immediately, they recognized their sin and God removed them from the Garden. Sickness and death were part of the penalty for their sins. God also promised to send a Redeemer to reconcile their descendants to Him. 

All of humanity is born with original sin, often falling into sin throughout our lives and we have suffered the effects of both sickness and death. Our faith teaches us that at our death we are judged for the way we lived our lives. Our souls will be taken to heaven, purgatory or hell, while our bodies will remain in the grave until they join our souls at the final judgment. 

However, “in anticipation that she was to bear the Son of God, Mary was preserved from the time of her conception from original sin….No sin would touch her, so that she would be a fitting and worthy vessel of the son of God.” (CCC, #491) Mary lived a life dedicated exclusively to Christ, her Son, and to his mission. We know from scripture that in life Mary suffered the pains of loss and hardships despite her life of holiness. 

In her Assumption, Mary experienced immediately what we will experience eventually, a bodily resurrection like Christ’s own. “The Immaculate Virgin…when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she be more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of death.” (CCC, #966)

For centuries, this belief had been a beloved tradition of the faithful, but it hadn’t been defined by the Church as a revealed dogma until 1950, when Pope Pius XII declared Mary’s Assumption to be an official teaching of the Church. That declaration was the fruit of years of work as the Holy Spirit guided Church leaders and theologians to a deeper and clearer understanding of Mary’s role in the scriptures.


A dogma is an official document of the Catholic Church- In March 1948, during the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII; a new ecumenical council was called. This council would be an extremely opportune time for the proclamation of the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary. This followed the appearance of Our Lady in Fatima starting on May 13, 1917. Our Lady told the children to recite the rosary and do penance in reparation for the sins of the world.

To spread the message of Fatima throughout the world, Fr. Alonzo took a statue of Our Lady of Fatima from the Capelinha in Fatima on tour to Madrid and throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In Catholic Spain, the “Miracle of the Doves” occurred. Wherever Our Lady’s statue appeared, it was surrounded by white doves hovering over it as an honor guard. Many miracles also occurred.

In Heaven, Mary is the Mediatrix and dispenser of graces. She has appeared in many places and at many times to ask us to repent and to pray the Rosary daily.

Many of our saints and leaders have had devotion to Our Lady and to her rosary. Pope Pius V asked the Catholic world to pray the rosary to intercede for us during the invasion of Europe by the Muslims in 1571. On October 7, the invading Muslim navy, which vastly outnumbered the Christian forces, was destroyed by a terrible storm. The few ships which survived returned home and the invasion ended. October 7 is celebrated as the Feast of the Most Holy Rosary.

Saint Louis De Montfort was a champion of the rosary and one of the great Marian saints. He wrote many books about Our Blessed Mother, including The Secret of Mary, The Secret of the Rosary, and True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin. He recommended recitation of the rosary to priests as a means of converting many souls.

St. Alphonsus Liguori had a love of the Virgin Mary from his youth, which he inherited from his mother. He gave up his law practice and laid down his sword at the feet of a statue of Mary. He no longer wanted to be a servant of the mundane, but a servant and knight of the Queen of Heaven.

Venerable Fulton J. Sheen was consecrated to the Blessed Mother at his birth. He had a deep love for Mary and dedicated his life to spreading her devotion and the Rosary. He wrote The World’s First Love: Mary, the Mother of God.

St. Teresa of Calcutta was called the Missionary of the Rosary. As a young girl, she made an annual pilgrimage with her mother to the Shrine of Our Lady of Cernagore. It made a deep impression on her heart and helped her to respond to her religious vocation.

St. John Paul II had a deep love of the Mother of God and was a champion of the rosary. He promoted the Sodality of the Rosary and the Legion of Mary. He visited many Marian Shrines. After he survived an attempted assassination, he brought the bullet, which was recovered, and placed it in the crown of the Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, saying she was the one who protected him. He also added the Luminous Mysteries

St. Maximillian Kolbe was a Polish Rosary priest who founded the movement called the Militia Immaculata and intended the rosary to be part of the daily spiritual practice of its members. He emphasized the importance of the Miraculous Medal and the Rosary. He founded a magazine called the Knight of the Immaculata. He is called The Martyr of Charity 

Do you know other Titles by which Our Lady is known?


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