PORTLAND—Mass times for the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord in churches around the Diocese of Portland are now available online by parish and by city/town. The listings include Masses on Wednesday, May 24, and Thursday, May 25.
This holy day of obligation is sometimes referred to as “Ascension Thursday” because its official observance takes place exactly 40 days after Easter, the day of Christ’s resurrection. It commemorates Christ’s ascension into Heaven in his glorified body, taking his seat at the right hand of his Father. As members of the Body of Christ, Catholics look forward to ascending into heaven after our bodily resurrection.
“In the Feast of the Ascension, the Church celebrates the return of Jesus to the place from which he had come, the side of the Father,” said Bishop Robert P. Deeley. “Jesus returns to the place he had left to come to be with us on earth, to save us from our sins, to open for us the promise of heaven, and to show us how to live. Jesus’ return to the Father, however, marks an end of his earthly ministry but it does not mark an end of his mission, which is carried on by the Church he established.”
The solemnity also celebrates the evangelizing mission of Catholics. Before Christ ascends, he commands his disciples to await the arrival of the Holy Spirit and then to "go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).
“The Feast of the Ascension reminds us that we must always make sure the good work we do is grounded in an appreciation of why we do it and with whose power and grace we do it,” said the bishop. “That is what we learn from the disciples.”
On Pentecost Sunday, June 4, Catholics will celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles and the fullness of grace for the Church. During the days between the Solemnity of the Ascension and the Solemnity of Pentecost, Catholics are called to intense prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This time of prayer comprises a novena.