Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord

Thursday, May 9, 2024

On the Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord, we celebrate Christ's bodily ascension into heaven, which occurred in the presence of his apostles. We hear in St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians that Christ took his seat at the right hand of his Father, "far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion."

The Solemnity of the Ascension of the Lord occurs 40 days after Christ's resurrection. It is the important, final piece of the Paschal Mystery, which began with Christ's Passion and death. Because Christ ascended, we, as members of the body of Christ, also look forward to ascending into heaven after our bodily resurrection.

On the solemnity, we are also reminded of our evangelizing mission. Before Christ ascends, he gives his disciples final instructions, telling them to await the arrival of the Holy Spirit and then "go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).  We will celebrate the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles on Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2024.

During the days between the Solemnity of the Ascension and the Solemnity of Pentecost, we are called to intense prayer for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This time of prayer comprises a novena, during which we pray that we may receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

While some ecclesiastical provinces have transferred the celebration of the Ascension of the Lord to the Seventh Sunday of Easter, that is not the case in the province of Boston, of which the Diocese of Portland is a part. Here, the celebration remains on the proper Thursday. In addition to participating in Mass on the holy day, another wonderful way to celebrate is through lectio divina, a contemplative prayer of the Scriptures.

Masses will be Wednesday, May 8, and Thursday, May 9.  A listing by parish can be found below and a listing by city/town can be found here.