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Ave Maria! Our Lady gracefully assumed into Heaven


The Apostolic Constitution ‘Munificentissimus Deus’ defining the dogma of the Assumption was propagated on 1 November 1950 by Pope Pius XII. Photo: Josh Low.

By Matthew Lau

The Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was acknowledged by parishes across the Archdiocese of Perth on 15 August.

Four Masses took place at St Mary’s Cathedral on the distinctive Holy Day of Obligation, which included a 9am Mass for Mercedes College students and staff.

It was the first time recently appointed Cathedral Dean Fr Sean Fernandez specifically celebrated Mass for the CBD-based all girls’ high school.

Fr Sean Fernandez began his homily by asking the full congregation to observe the statue of Our Lady situated on the sanctuary, a statue he said epitomises “the beauty of grace”.

“Many people radiate certain beauty. Mother Teresa, for example, however wrinkled and worn, there was a radiance about her, a love and a warmth which no statue of her could capture,” Fr Fernandez described.

“So this [he gestures towards the statue] tries to capture something of the beauty of Mary.”


Father Sean Fernandez celebrated the Feast of the Assumption Mass at St Mary’s Cathedral on Wednesday 15 August. Photo: Matthew Lau.

The beauty of Mary derives from her response to God’s grace in her life, he continued, because as a girl – possibly as young as 14 – she said “Yes” to the Angel Gabriel’s message inviting her to bear Jesus.

“So Mary had a child who she loved and carried, and cared for. She walked with this child as He journeyed, and as this child hung up on a cross, she stood there helpless, but she stood there with great pain and courage.

“This is the woman who throughout her life responded to the grace of God in each moment. At the end of her life, this body was raised to glory,” the Cathedral Dean added.

“When we respond to His grace in every moment, He is actually preparing our bodies for resurrection, to rise with Him.

“She invites us today to magnify and praise the Lord with her, whose faithfulness is from age-to-age.”

Susan Macdonald, Deputy Principal – Faith and Mission, said Mercedes College welcomes Fr Fernandez to its school community.

“His warm, friendly manner was evident from the beginning of the Mass and his happy disposition captured the attention of all the community present,” Mrs Macdonald said.

“Given the significance of the day, he relayed a family story [in his homily] which was relevant to the feast day and helped us to understand the importance of the day.