Posted by: AJ the Irish Lass | May 28, 2019

Ascension Day

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Happy Feast of the Ascension!

Ascension Day celebrates Jesus’ ascension into heaven forty days after that first Resurrection Day (Easter). Even though it’s not “a thing” in some non-liturgical denominations, there are Catholic, Orthodox, and Episcopal parishes names for this event, and Ascension or some variation of it appears in many location names (such as Ascension Parish, LA).

The Feast of the Ascension is an important part of the traditional Church year. How did it come into being, and how is it observed?

What the Bible Says

The Ascension account appears in Acts 1:1-11 After 40 days of appearing to and teaching the Apostles, Jesus ascends into heaven with a promise to send the Holy Spirit. Although Ascension Day falls on the Thursday following the Sixth Sunday of Easter, some parishes opt to transfer its celebration to Sunday (Seventh Sunday of Easter).

How the World Celebrates Ascension Day

As an observance popular with Catholic and Protestant alike, there are several traditions associated with this feast:

  • Episcopalians and other Anglicans often observe the three days leading up to Ascension Day as Rogation Days, with prayers for fruitful seasons, commerce and industry, and the stewardship of creation
  • Many Catholics say a special novena in preparation of Pentecost between Ascension Day and Pentecost
  • Orthodox Christians usually observe a special vigil the night before the feast (note that Ascension Day in the Orthodox Church often falls on a different date due to differences in the date of Easter).

What We Can Learn from the Ascension

We can learn that Jesus’ words ring true about how he is with us – forever. Jesus’ time ministering to people on earth may have been over, but we have important work to do in continuing to carry out his mission. May we go in peace to love and serve our God!

Almighty God, whose blessed Son our Savior Jesus Christ ascended far above all heavens that he might fill all things: Mercifully give us faith to perceive that, according to his promise, he abides with his Church on earth, even to the end of the ages; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.


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