Celebration of the Assumption of Mary

Tonight we saw police in the street outside our apartment as we were leaving the building. A short time later we were engulfed in a parade celebrating the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. Clergy and several thousand Catholic followers from Notre Dame paraded down our street to celebrate the Assumption of Mary. We had heard the church bells and observed a large group with candles proceeding to the church last night, but didn’t know of the parade we now observed.

If you’ve studied the Bible you may have noted that it doesn’t contain much information about Mary and Joseph. As far as I know they are not a big part of the message of the Gospel. Yet at the same time, one need not look far to find Mary as an iconic figure in the Catholic Church. Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris (Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris) is a reference to Mary, not to mention the US university you see on TV every weekend in the fall. The figure of the Virgin Mary in sculpture and paintings may be as common as artwork for Christ. While I could try to decipher the terminology of the church, suffice it to say that the Catholic Church realized that Mary was an important part of their message of Christianity. Even before 500 AD there was tacit acceptance that the end of Mary’s life was a holy event and that the anniversary was to be celebrated and recognized.

It was not until 1950 that the Catholic Church officially incorporated the Assumption into its dogma, thus vouching for a practice that had long been condoned. This event was noted at the time by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung to be “the most important religious event since the Reformation”. Protestant movements have not similarly included Mary, to which Jung at the time commented,”Protestantism has obviously not given sufficient attention to the signs of the times which point to the equality of women. But this equality requires to be metaphysically anchored in the figure of a ‘divine’ woman. . . . The feminine, like the masculine, demands an equally personal representation.” He said that many years ago, but his observation seems rather modern to me.

You can see a few photos of the event below:


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  1. Dan Weedin

    Thanks for sharing. Barb and I just returned from Mass this noon for the Assumption. I would say going to Mass for the Feast of the Assumption in Paris has just been added to my bucket list!

  2. Maureen

    My mom said the thing she loved the most about Catholicism (she was originally Protestant) was the adoration of Mary by the Catholics.
    Now, for an even more fascinating look at the feminine mystique “cleansed” from the Bible, you must read “The Way” by Kristen Wolf!!!!!

  3. Joanne Easley

    Hello Brenda and Hugh,
    We just wanted to say what a pleasure it was to meet you both during the “French Revolution” earlier this week! We read your wonderful blog and were very impressed. Thank you for suggesting un verre du vin together,…such a nice opportunity to get to know you better. Hope you enjoy le Journee
    De Patrimoine this weekend. We plan to try some of your recommended restaurants too. Such a pleasure meeting you and hope we can have the pleaure of your company again.
    A bien tot…
    Joanne Easley and Don Gancer

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