The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated 40 Days after Easter - however, the celebration is often shifted to the nearest Sunday in many countries. In 2021, Ascension Thursday will be on May 13th. (It is time to begin the Novena prayer in honor of the Ascension see below) The Ascension of Jesus is told in the Bible in Acts 1:9-11. This teaching explains that the resurrected Jesus was taken up to Heaven 40 days after the resurrection. The Gospels also describe the ascension of Jesus in Luke 24:50-53 and Mark 16:19. The ascension of Jesus is included in the Nicene Creed and in the Apostles' Creed. The Feast of the Ascension, is celebrated on the 40th day of Easter (always a Thursday). In some countries this Feast is transferred to the Sunday following the Thursday. Jesus said unto them, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. Jesus led the eleven disciples to Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. Then he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. Acts 1:9 describes the Ascension: "And when he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." The Ascension took place on Mount Olivet. The Chapel of the Ascension in Jerusalem today is venerated by Christians and Muslims. There is a 12x12 meter octagonal structure (called a martyrium—"memorial"—or "Edicule") that remains to this day. Russian Orthodox have a Convent of the Ascension on the top of the Mount of Olives. Christian theology The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:"Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority." CCC 668. In John 20:17 Jesus told St. Mary Magdalene: "I have not yet ascended to the Father; go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God"
Ascension remembers the day when Jesus went up into heaven 40 days after He rose from the dead. The Ascension is often transferred to the Sunday so that people can attend Mass.
(Image: Pietro Perugino, Ascension, between 1496 and 1500 Oil on wood Museum of Fine Arts of Lyon. Pérugin, l’Ascension, between 1496 and 1500, huile sur bois, musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.)
Novena Prayer (Say 9 Times)
Jesus, I honor You on the feast of Your Ascension into heaven. I rejoice with all my heart at the glory into which You entered to reign as King of heaven and earth. When the struggle of this life is over, give me the grace to share Your joy and triumph in heaven for all eternity.
I believe that You entered into Your glorious Kingdom to prepare a place for me, for You promised to come again to take me to Yourself. Grant that I may seek only the joys of Your friendship and love, so that I may deserve to be united with You in heaven.
In the hour of my own homecoming, when I appear before Your Father to give an account of my life on earth, have mercy on me.
Jesus, in Your love for me You have brought me from evil to good and from misery to happiness. Give me the grace to rise above my human weakness. May Your Humanity give me courage in my weakness and free me from my sins.
Through Your grace, give me the courage of perseverance for You have called and justified me by faith. May I hold fast to the life You have given me and come to the eternal gifts You promised.
You love me, dear Jesus. Help me to love You in return. I ask You to grant this special favor:
(Mention your request).
By Your unceasing care, guide my steps toward the life of glory You have prepared for those who love You. Make me grow in holiness and thank You by a life of faithful service. Amen.