St. Mary’s Catholic Church (Hillsboro,
Saint-Bénigne Catholic Church (Greenfield),
Holy Trinity Catholic Church (West Union) and
St. Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church (Peebles)
The Catholic Christian Church believes it was founded by Jesus Christ when he died on the cross and was resurrected in 30 AD. There is an unbroken line of popes today, from St. Peter to Pope Francis.
My priesthood goes back to the Last Supper. From the earliest days, the Christian Catholic Church believed that Mary never died but was “raptured” (supposedly) to heaven body and soul. Why do we Catholics believe this? Because Mary had no original sin. She was a pure vessel in which Jesus would take human life into his bosom. The effects of original sin which is death and decadence would have no hold on her. (Take that Satan!)
Some may say, “Show me where the words ‘Assumption of Mary’ are found in the Bible?
I can’t. It’s not in the Bible. But there are other beliefs that all Christians share where the word is not in the Bible.
I believe in the Incarnation of Jesus, but the word “Incarnation” is not in the Bible. The same goes for the word “Trinity”. Catholic Christians believe that God reveals his truth in two ways: the Word of God in the Bible and the Apostolic Tradition. What is that? It simply means what the apostles “handed down” for the early Christians to believe.
I quote a writing of the Apostle John where he talks about what happened to Mary.
“And while she was praying, it came to pass that the heavens were opened, and the archangel Gabriel came down to her and said to her: ‘Hail, you who have given birth to Christ our God! Your prayer having reached the heavens has been accepted; and from now on, according to your request, you who have left the world will go to the heavenly places to your Son in true eternal life.’”
There is strong evidence that the early Church Fathers believed in the Assumption of Mary. Unlike other early Church saints who saved relics from their bodies, such as the bones of St. Peter and even Jesus’ burial shroud, there are no relics of Mary. This shows that the early Church believed that Mary’s body and soul had indeed ascended to heaven. Nobody. No relics.
In life, there are so many times when God calls you to believe even if you don’t see what to believe. I have never seen Mary taken up to Heaven, but I believe it.
My father passed to Heaven on the evening of Sunday August 7th. He was 96 years old. A long and full life well lived. Several years ago we had a conversation about existence after death.
He said, “I believe I will, but I’d like to be more sure.”
I said, “Dad, that’s faith.” I quoted him the biblical definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we do not see.”
I continued, “I have complete certainty in God. Certainty means I can rely on him. I’ve never seen God, but I don’t need it. I believe that God exists. I believe God is telling me the truth. God says we are made in his image, including you. (Genesis 1:26-27.) Because he created you in his image, God will always exist and so will you.
He seemed comforted by what I said. He remarked, “I’ve always tried to do the right thing. I believe in god. I hope this will lead me to heaven.
I said, “Dad, don’t worry. You will be.” Last Sunday he did.
• Walt Paraniuk: November 23, 1925-August. February 7, 2022 – A decorated WWII Navy veteran who fought for our country at the age of 17. May the flights of angels bring you rest.
– A tribute from your son.