August 16, 2020

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16 August 2020
Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

So what happened after the Assumption of Our Lady into heaven?

If you pray the Holy Rosary you know that the next glorious mystery is the Coronation of the Blessed Virgin as Queen of Heaven and Earth. For many centuries the Church celebrated the Octave of the Assumption with the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. So… the octave (meaning “eighth”) day of the Assumption (August 15th) is August 22nd (15+7=22). But most of us on that day will be celebrating the Memorial of the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For some reason, the word “queenship” always makes me think of an ocean liner. I digress.

Why the disparity?

The Octave of the Assumption was added to the Roman liturgical calendar in 847 by Pope St. Leo IV. Latin dioceses in various parts of the world had a variety of ways of extending the Feast of the Assumption, some doing so with the celebration of the Coronation on August 16th while more common was the prolongation of the Assumption festivities for thirty or even forty days.

The Roman Liturgy did not have one specific day dedicated to the Coronation until about seventy years ago. In 1954 Pope Pius XII establish a new liturgical feast of the “Blessed Virgin Mary, Queen”. The occasion was the conclusion of the Holy Year of Mary. The Dogma of the Assumption had been declared in 1950. Pope Pius’ choice of date crowned the last day of the month dedicated to Mary, but he did not make reference to supplanting other commemorations of the Coronation.

Our modern liturgical calendar neatly marks the occasion by having moved the Feast of the Queenship to the octave day of the Assumption. That said, if you want something worth your meditation, crack open the Book of Revelation and read Chapter 12.

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us!

Fr. Christopher J. Pollard

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” JN 13:34-35