Vatican City, Nov 3, 2020 / 02:00 pm (CNA).- Catholics in Rome marked the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption Sunday with a solemn Mass offered by Cardinal Mauro Piacenza.
Pope Pius XII defined the Assumption of the Virgin Mary formally as a dogma of the Catholic faith on Nov. 1, 1950, invoking papal infallibility to proclaim in his apostolic constitution “Munificentissimus Deus” 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.”
In doing so, the pope confirmed this belief about the Virgin Mary as the perennial teaching of the Church, recognizing the longstanding traditions by which the Church has celebrated the Assumption throughout its history.
“Munificentissimus Deus,” which means “Most Bountiful God,” cited testimonies from the early Church Fathers on the subject, and described the history of theological reflection on many biblical passages which are seen as indicating that Mary was assumed into heaven following her death.
Although the bodily assumption of Mary is not explicitly recorded in Scripture, Catholic tradition identifies her with the “woman clothed with the sun” who is described in the 12th chapter of the Book of Revelation.
Cardinal Piacenza, the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, offered Mass Nov. 1 at Rome’s Shrine of Our Lady of the Third Millennium at Tre Fontane, also known as the shrine of the Virgin of Revelation.
In his homily, Piacenza said that the Assumption of the Virgin Mary points us to heaven and serves as a reminder that we are still pilgrims in this world.
“The Assumption reminds us, among other things, that we too have a union with Christ, we have been baptized, and with this we too have become children of God, albeit adopted. Our body has become a temple of the Holy Spirit and remains so until at the end of life, to then await the Resurrection,” Piacenza said.
Cardinal Piacenza also noted that there was a link between the Marian dogma and the shrine of the Virgin of Revelation, which he said “Pius XII knew very well.”
At the shrine there is a plaque commemorating the 1950 proclamation of the dogma of the Assumption. It includes a quotation from an alleged private revelation, a Marian apparition for which the Church has not yet given any formal approval.
Pope Pius XII allowed a chapel to be built at the site of the alleged apparition in 1956. Pope John Paul II granted the shrine the title of “Our Lady of the Third Millennium.” Today a congregation of sisters, the Missionaries of Divine Revelation, are affiliated with the shrine.
Sr. Emanuela Edwards of the Missionaries of Divine Revelation explained the connection to EWTN News.
“The connection is that on April 12, 1947, the Virgin of Revelation appeared to Bruno Cornacchiola, and she gave that message. She said: ‘I could not die. I did not die. My son and the angels took me to heaven.’ And this was … in response to a letter that Pope Pius XII had written 12 months before asking for some heavenly confirmation. So it was here in this very grotto where Our Lady appeared and spoke confirming that dogma,” Edwards said.
She added: “So just as in Lourdes there was the apparition after the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception, here at Tre Fontane instead she anticipated the proclamation of the dogma because the dogma was proclaimed on November 1, 1950.”
Cardinal Piacenza said: “In practice this was another element in the mind, in the heart, of Pius XII when he made the idea of the proclamation of dogma … Another confirmation, here practically.”
Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary on August 15. It is always a holy day of obligation.
“The feast of the Assumption of Our Lady is so important, and it is important for us to remember that very often we are very attached to the Earth and we only look at earthly things. But in the proclamation of the dogma we see Our Lady assumed into heaven and she reminds us because she is the model of all Christians that our home is in heaven,” Edwards said.
“And so in these days we have to look up to Our Lady and know that that is also our trajectory at the end of our lives too, so it is a great message of hope because it reminds us … that a great glory that awaits us also.”
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