The Ascension of the Lord: Holy Day of Obligation

News May 25, 2022

The Ascension of the Lord, this year on Thursday, May 26, 2022, is a Holy Day of Obligation for Catholics. St. Mary Winchester will celebrate Mass that day at 5:30 p.m.

“Christ’s Ascension means that he no longer belongs to the world of corruption and death that conditions our life. It means that he belongs entirely to God. He, the Eternal Son, led our human existence into God’s presence, taking with him flesh and blood in a transfigured form.”
—Homily of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Basilica of St. John Lateran, 7 May 2005

“The Ascension of Jesus into heaven,” Pope Francis said, “acquaints us with this deeply consoling reality on our journey; in Christ, true God and true man, our humanity was taken to God. Christ opened the path to us. If we entrust our life to him, if we let ourselves be guided by him, we are certain to be in safe hands, in the hands of our Savior.” This is why, as Pope Benedict XVI wrote, it would be a mistake to interpret the Ascension as “the temporary absence of Christ from the world.” Rather, “we go to heaven to the extent that we go to Jesus Christ and enter into him.” Heaven is a person: “Jesus himself is what we call ‘heaven.’”
—From the 2022 MAGNIFICAT May issue. Copyright MAGNIFICAT-Used with permission.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

  • Christ’s ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus’ humanity into God’s heavenly domain, whence he will come again (cf. Acts 1:11); this humanity in the meantime hides him from the eyes of men (cf. Col 3:3).
  • Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father’s glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him forever.
  • Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.