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How to celebrate the Ascension of the Lord at home

Here you have the prayers, readings, and everything else you need to celebrate with God’s Word.

 

In order to worthily sanctify the Ascension of the Lord, Aleteia proposes this celebration of the Word of God at home.


  Instructions:
  • This celebration requires the presence of at least two people.
  • If you’re alone, you can simply read this celebration, united in your heart and spirit with the Church.  You can also watch the Mass on television.
  • Choose the most convenient time, from Saturday evening (the vigil of Sunday) to Sunday evening.
  • This celebration is particularly suitable for use with family. In order to respect quarantine measures, you should refrain from inviting others from outside your household. If anyone in your house is ill, make sure they remain in isolation to ensure that all safety guidelines are strictly followed.
  • Set up the needed number of chairs in front of a prayer corner, respecting an appropriate distance of at least a yard between each.
  • Take the time to renew a little the prayer corner’s decorations: images, candles, real or artificial flowers, drawings by your children, garlands, etc.
  • A simple cross or crucifix must always be visible in the background.
  • Designate a person to lead the prayer.
  • The leader will also direct the preparation of the celebration, during which he or she will mark the length of the periods of silence.
  • Designate readers for the readings.
  • During the preparation of the celebration: you can prepare petitions for the Prayers of the Faithful or Universal Prayer (in case that is not possible, a standard list of petitions is provided here for use during the course of the celebration). You may also prepare suitable hymns.
 
ASCENSION OF THE LORD   Celebration of the Word  

“Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

  The leader of the celebration reads:   Brothers and sisters, On the Feast of the Ascension we celebrate a mystery: the fulfilment of Easter in the glorious body of Christ Jesus, in his entire body, forever consisting of head and members… … and we are the members!   On this day, the Risen Jesus brought our human nature into the glory of God. He ascended to heaven to make us partakers of his divinity. For Jesus, the Ascension is not an escape from the human condition: he’s with us every day until the end of the world! In the same way, our desire for Heaven must not be an escape. The angels send the apostles back to their earthly mission: to be, among the rest of humanity, active members of the Body of Christ, proclaiming the Gospel and being witnesses to his love, to the very ends of the earth.   After three minutes of silence, all rise and make the Sign of the Cross, saying: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.   The leader continues:   To prepare ourselves to receive God’s Word and in order for it to heal us, we recognize ourselves as sinners.   The penitential rite follows. For example:   Have mercy on us, O Lord. For we have sinned against you. Show us, O Lord, your mercy. And grant us your salvation.   May Almighty God have mercy on us; forgive us our sins, And bring us to everlasting life. Amen.   The following is said or sung:   Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.   The Gloria is then said or sung:   Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory. Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.   Glória in excélsis Deo et in terra pax homínibus bonae voluntátis. Laudámus te, benedícimus te, adoramus te, glorificámus te, gratias agimus tibi propter magnam glóriam tuam, Dómine Deus, Rex cæléstis, Deus Pater omnípotens. Dómine Fili Unigénite, Jesu Christe, Dómine Deus, Agnus Dei, Fílius Patris, qui tollis peccáta mundi, miserére nobis; qui tollis peccáta mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram. Qui sedes ad déxteram Patris, miserére nobis. Quóniam tu solus Sanctus, tu solus Dóminus, tu solus Altíssimus, Jesu Christe, c** Sancto + Spíritu : in glória Dei Patris. Amen.   PRAYER   The leader says the opening prayer:   Grant, almighty God, that we may celebrate with heartfelt devotion these days of joy, which we keep in honor of the risen Lord, and that what we relive in remembrance we may always hold to in what we do. Amen.  

All sit down.

  FIRST READING  (Acts 1:1-11)   A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.   In the first book, Theophilus, I dealt with all that Jesus did and taught until the day he was taken up, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them by many proofs after he had suffered, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. While meeting with them, he enjoined them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for “the promise of the Father about which you have heard me speak; for John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”   When they had gathered together they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know the times or seasons that the Father has established by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” When he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him from their sight. While they were looking intently at the sky as he was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky? This Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven will return in the same way as you have seen him going into heaven.”   The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.   PSALM (47:2-3, 6-7, 8-9) R/ Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!   All you peoples, clap your hands, shout to God with cries of gladness, For the LORD, the Most High, the awesome, is the great king over all the earth. R/   God mounts his throne amid shouts of joy; the LORD, amid trumpet blasts. Sing praise to God, sing praise; sing praise to our king, sing praise. R/   For king of all the earth is God; sing hymns of praise. God reigns over the nations, God sits upon his holy throne.R/   SECOND READING  (Ephesians 1:17-23)   Brothers and sisters: May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a Spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him. May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones, and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens, far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.   The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.   All rise.   GOSPEL (Matthew 28:16-20) Alleluia. Alleluia. Go and teach all nations, says the Lord; I am with you always, until the end of the world. Alleluia.   A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew   The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them. When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted. Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

At the end of the Gospel, all sing or say again the joy of the Resurrection:

 

Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

  All are seated, and the leader repeats slowly, as if it were a far-off echo:  

“Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

  All observe three minutes of silence for silent personal meditation.   PROFESSION OF FAITH   All then stand to profess the faith of the Church saying the Apostles’ Creed:   I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.   UNIVERSAL PRAYER   All remain standing for the prayers of the faithful, as prepared ahead of time. The following intercessions may be used instead, separating the intentions with an intervening moment of silence. The leader of the prayer says:  

Christ ascends into heaven, not to abandon us but to be our hope. Filled with certainty by this glorious event, we pray:

  All say the refrain:   R/ Lord, hear our prayer.
  • For the Church: that the People of God will live with an ardent hope for heaven. R/
  • That the authority of heaven will guide the actions of those who govern on earth. R/
  • That Christian husbands and wives be strengthened in their loving commitment to one another, modeling the union of Christ and the Church. R/
  • That all believers will witness to the presence of Christ in our midst through generosity, charity, and faithfulness to the Gospel. R/
  • For all of the faithful departed: that they enjoy eternal life with Christ, risen from the dead and reigning gloriously in heaven. R/
  • That through the grace of the Ascension we will be blessed to keep our minds and hearts fixed on the things of heaven. R/
  • For an end to the coronavirus pandemic, for God’s mercy on all who are suffering and dying, and for strength and protection on all healthcare workers dedicated to fighting it. R/
  The people present may add, in turn, their own intentions. At the end of each of them, all repeat the refrain together:   R/ Lord, hear our prayer.   The leader introduces the Lord’s Prayer:   United in the Spirit and in the communion of the Church, we dare to pray as the Lord Jesus himself taught us:   All say or sing the Our Father:   Our Father… Continuing immediately with: For the kingdom…   Then the leader invites those present to share a sign of peace:   We have just joined our voices with that of the Lord Jesus to pray to the Father. We are sons and daughters in the Son.   In the love that unites us with one another, renewed by the word of God, we can exchange a gesture of peace, a sign of the communion we receive from the Lord.   All then exchange a greeting of peace from a distance: for example, by bowing deeply towards each other in turn; or, as a family, by blowing each other a kiss. Then all sit down.   SPIRITUAL COMMUNION   The leader says:   When we cannot receive sacramental communion for lack of a Mass, Pope Francis urges us to practice spiritual communion, also called “communion of desire.”   The Council of Trent reminds us that this “consists in an ardent desire to feed on the Heavenly Bread, with a living faith that acts through charity and that makes us participants in the fruits and graces of the Sacrament.” The value of our spiritual communion depends therefore on our faith in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist as a source of life, love and unity, and our desire to receive Communion in spite of our inability to do so.   With that in mind, I now invite you to bow your head, to close your eyes and recollect yourselves.   Silence   Deep in our hearts, may a burning desire arise within us to unite ourselves with Jesus, in sacramental communion, and then to bring His love to life into our lives, loving others as He loved us.   All remain in silence for 5 minutes for a heart-to-heart conversation with Jesus Christ.   You may optionally stand and say or sing a beautiful Alleluia once more:   Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!   All remain standing, turning to face the Cross of Christ. With hands joined in prayer, the prayer leader, in the name of all, says the prayer of blessing:   FINAL BLESSING   May God, who by the Resurrection of his Only Begotten Son was pleased to confer on us the gift of redemption and of adoption, give us gladness by his blessing. Amen.  

May he, by whose redeeming work

we have received the gift of everlasting freedom,

make us heirs to an eternal inheritance.Amen.

 

And may we, who have already risen with Christ

in Baptism through faith,

by living in a right manner on this earth,

be united with him in the homeland of heaven. Amen.

  All together, each with hands joined in prayer:   And may the blessing of almighty God, come down on us and remain with us for ever. Amen.   All make the Sign of the Cross.   Then parents may trace the Sign of the Cross on their children’s foreheads.   To conclude the celebration, the participants may sing the Regina Caeli, or some other joyful, well-known Marian hymn.   Regína caéli, lætáre, Allelúia! Quia quem meruísti portáre, Allelúia! Resurréxit, sicut dixit, Allelúia! Ora pro nóbis Déum, Allelúia!   O Queen of heaven rejoice! Alleluia! For He whom thou didst merit to bear, Alleluia! Hath arisen as he said, Alleluia! Pray for us to God, Alleluia! 

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Written by Raphael Benedict

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