Ecclesiastical Octave of the Assumption

Paul Keggington

August 19, 2008

feast-day-of-the-assumption-of-the-blessed-virgin-maryoil-on-canvas-30-x-24in-15-august-2008-by-stephen-b-whatley.jpgFor those who delight in the movements of a symphony, operatic soloists or personalized, high-capacity streaming internet radio,  an octave is defined as an interval of eight notes. Rooted in the same linguistical understanding, the Roman Catholic Church uses the term octave for a period of eight days beginning with a religious feast day commemorating a person or an event significant in matters of faith.

Looking closely at the calendar days of August, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was celebrated on August 15, 2008. The octave concludes with another Marian feast, the Queenship of Mary on August 22, 2008. Why was it that Pope Pius XII established this feast in 1954?

From the earliest ages of the Catholic Church a Christian people, whether in time of triumph or more especially in time of crisis, has addressed prayers of petition and hymns of praise and veneration to the Queen of Heaven. And never has that hope wavered which they placed in the Mother of the Divine King, Jesus Christ, nor has that faith ever failed by which we are taught that Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, reigns with a mother’s solicitude over the entire world, just as she is crowned in heavenly blessedness with the glory of a Queen.  (Encyclical Ad Caeli Reginam)

Mary’s queenship has Scriptural origin.

  • Gabriel announced that Mary’s Son would be given “the throne of David…and his reign will be without end.”
  • At the time of the Visitation Elizabeth refers to her cousin as “the mother of my Lord.”

The Franciscan Crown, a rosary unique to Franciscans remembering the joyous events of Mary’s life that dates back to 1422, also celebrates her queenship.

Fittingly during this Marian octave, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity wish to share with you a faithful friend’s portrait of the Mother of God. Stephen B. Whatley painted this tribute on the Blessed Feast Day of the Assumption of Mary 2008. He feels called to share this prayer with as many people as possible.

Care to comment on his inspiration or what these feasts of Mary mean to you?

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