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Film night in Bridge City will explore Mary’s role

 
The final days of the Blessed Mother’s life on earth are shrouded in mystery. Scripture is silent.

Did she, as the Eastern church tradition suggests, fall “asleep” – known as “the dormition” of Mary – before being assumed into heaven?
 
Why did Pope Pius XII declare in 1950 the dogma that Mary, “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory”?
 
Did she die first before she was assumed into heaven? Did she “fall asleep”? Was she buried?
 
“It’s very intriguing,” said Father Buddy Noel, pastor of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Church in Westwego and a student of early church tradition. “The ancient tradition is that Mary fell asleep – what is called ‘the dormition.’ The Eastern church has always held the image of Mary falling asleep – or dying. The image on many icons shows the Lord descending and taking his mother into his arms, a very beautiful reversal.

Many traditions about Mary
“There is another tradition that Mary was buried on the Mount of Olives, very near to the Garden of Gethsemane. But after three days, the grave was opened and her body was gone. There was the sweet smell of roses. The Eastern church reflects on her passing, while we focus more on her Assumption, although we don’t deny either.”

The Assumption of Mary and the Blessed Mother’s pivotal role in the life of the early church after the death and resurrection of Jesus are the focus of a new film, “Full of Grace,” that will be shown June 3 at 7 p.m. at Holy Guardian Angels’ auditorium in Bridge City.

The evening of reflection will include a screening of the 83-minute movie and a question-and-answer session with producer Bob Perron of Outside da Box, a production company based in St. Charles, Illinois, that has created Catholic-oriented films for youth and young adults on the “Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

Father Noel saw the film earlier this year and was impressed with its treatment of Mary as a mentor to St. Peter and the apostles.

“It’s very prayerful and simple and involves conversations between Peter and Mary and the other disciples,” Father Noel said. “She feels her life coming to a close, and Peter is in a place of great unrest. People from every side are saying, ‘Listen to us! This is the way the church should go.’ Peter is the rock of the church, and he brings himself to Our Lady and seeks her advice, which I’m sure is what happened.”

Perron said “Full of Grace” is a “different type of film” in that it can be used as “an opportunity for meditation and prayer.” Because Mary had the experience of fleeing Herod’s decree to kill all first-born children of the Jews, Perron said “she would have heard the laughter of children being replaced with the mourning wails of mothers.”

“I think this film definitely changes our view of Mary because it shows a very human Mary and a human Peter,” Perron said. “You hear Mary talking as a mom. I hope people walk away with a closer relationship with Christ. Mary always points to Christ.”

There is no charge to view the film on June 4, but a freewill offering will be taken up. “Full of Grace” is available through Amazon.com.

Peter Finney Jr. can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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