Comfort My People — Giving glory to the Blessed Virgin Mary

Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre

In the middle of the month of August, the Church celebrates the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Under the title of her Assumption, Mary serves as patron of the cathedral church of the Archdiocese of Louisville, so this is a special celebration for our archdiocese. 

The Assumption again invites us to give honor to Mary and to celebrate her faith as we worship God and God alone. As the perfect disciple of her son Jesus Christ, Mary’s model in faith is an example that we should all seek to follow.

The Assumption of Mary, celebrated each year on Aug. 15, refers to the mysterious event when, at the end of her earthly life, Mary was taken up or “assumed,” body and soul, into heaven. It is important to note that Jesus “ascended” to heaven of his own power. Mary was “assumed” into heaven or taken there by God. Jesus, allowing his mother to share in that which is promised to all those who are faithful, wills her to join him in heaven as soon as her earthly life had run its course.

In the teaching of the Assumption, the church affirms that Mary is in heaven as one of the blessed and enjoys the glorified life that Jesus won for all in his resurrection. So, Mary watches from heaven, praying fervently for us, her children here on earth. 

Our brothers and sisters in the Eastern Catholic Churches celebrate the Assumption slightly differently. They celebrate the feast of the Dormition of Mary, highlighting that her death was no more troublesome than “falling asleep.” We can learn so much from Mary’s simple faith; a faith so affirmed in love that it does not even fear death.

Knowing Mary and spending time with her aids our growth in Catholic life. From Mary, we can learn to emulate her trust of her son. We know that we have Mary as an intercessor who watches from heaven with a mother’s love. Imagine how much our lives would change if we fully trusted in the Lord and Mary’s intercession for us.

Revering Mary does not take away the suffering of this life. However, we do not need to be afraid because a stronger one intercedes for us. Mary reminds us that we are not destined for this world but for heaven. 

We can look to Mary as a model for Catholic life. She lived a prayerful and reflective life but was at the same time active in her community. We see her recalling the actions of God in her life and in her heart, pondering and praying with them. Mary’s life was a life of prayer that was not withdrawn from the cares of daily life but is immersed in them, and her prayer for us today enriches the ordinary lives of everyone who follows her example of faith. May we celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption with faith!

Having been asked to serve as apostolic administrator of the Diocese of Knoxville, Tenn., my responsibilities there continue. During the vacancy of a diocese due to a bishop’s death, resignation or transfer to another diocese, the Holy See may appoint another bishop as apostolic administrator, as has been done with me in the case of Knoxville.

The role of the apostolic administrator is to ensure the good order and administration of the diocese that is awaiting the appointment of a new bishop. In addition to the customary pastoral responsibilities of a bishop, the apostolic administrator provides oversight regarding the daily activities of the diocese awaiting the appointment of a new bishop. 

So please continue to pray for me in my service and for the good people of Knoxville as they await a new bishop. Though life has gotten busier for me as I divide my time between Louisville and Knoxville, I am more than willing to serve in this way until Pope Francis names a new Bishop of Knoxville.

August also ushers in a new school year. Please pray for all those involved in the education of our youth, and in a particular way, for a successful school year for all involved in our family of Catholic schools here in the Archdiocese of Louisville. Please also pray for all who undertake the faith formation of our young people during the coming year. 

Know of my prayers for you and for all those whom you love! Peace!

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