I have to say that one of the perks of being at a Marianist university is that we get off for the feasts of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception. This is a particular treat inasmuch as my grad assistant contract starts on the 15th. "Contract day" is always a feast day. This year there's another consequence, however...with contract day/Assumption day on a Friday, I have to attend orientation events on a Saturday. Alas! I can't have it all. But I really can't complain, given that the Assumption's position on a Friday exempts me from my meats and sweets abstention! I don't know what it says about me that my first reaction to realizing the Assumption was on a Friday was the excitement of being absolved from my meager penitential practices. But it's certainly convenient in that our parish festival begins on Friday, and I have my eyes on those powdered sugar-covered treats, as well as the Indian food booth.
I probably should be theologizing on the Assumption here, instead of fantasizing about parish festival goodies. The Assumption certainly does have a fascinating history that stretches back long before it's solemn ex cathedra definition. But instead-blame it on my just having finished writing a 24-hour doctoral exam on Church history-I think I'll share my favorite Assumption story. When my husband was a neophyte Christian, still of the Evangelical Protestant sort (five years before I met him), he was working as a garbage man for his summer job, and he asked a Catholic co-worker what this Catholic feast was all about. "Well," said the friend, "we KNOW Jesus went to heaven. But with Mary we just assume it. Hence the 'Assumption.'" Alas! Martin Luther certainly wouldn't have been happy with that explanation.