Resources for Ascension Day
for liturgy, assemblies and RE teaching
Ascension Day

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Ascension Day is the liturgical celebration of Jesus' ascension into heaven, witnessed by the apostles. It is kept on the 40th day after Easter (ie. the Thursday in the fifth week of Eastertide). Ascension Day has been kept since the later years of the 4th century and is sometimes marked with procession (recalling Jesus' walk to the Mount of Olives where the ascension traditionally took place). The theological significance of the ascension is that Christ's human and risen body is taken up into heaven where the God-Man sits in judgement over all men and women.

The Gospel Account

Mark 16:15-20 (NRSV)

Jesus said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the good newsto the whole creation. The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.’

So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.

Acts 1:3-11 (JB adapted)

Jesus showed himself alive to the apostles after his passion by many demonstrations.  For forty days he continued to appear to them and tell them about the kingdom of God.

When he was at table with them, he told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for what the Father had promised.  Jesus said, ‘John baptised with water but, not many days from now, you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.  You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judaea and Samaria, and indeed to the ends of the earth.’

As he said this he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight.

They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, 'Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky?  Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there.'

Ascension Day Mass for Schools  

Mass texts for Ascension Day with adaptations for children's liturgy:
Ascension Day Mass Prayers
Ascension Day Gospel (Mark) arranged for 7 voices


Ascension at York Minster
Source: Flickr

This ceiling boss at York Minster might be a good discussion starter for a homily or assembly. It shows the feet of Jesus disappearing upwards into heaven, surrounded by the 12 apostles (Matthias having replaced Judas) who were witnesses to the event.

Ascension 1
Source unknown
Ascension 2
Source unknown
Hymns and Songs for Ascension Day  

Alleluia, sing to Jesus
At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow
God, your glory we have seen in your Son / Dieu, nous avons vu ta gloire (Didier Rimaud SJ/Jean Langlais) information
I dance in the morning when the world was begun
Jesus, you are Lord, you are risen from the dead
How lovely on the mountains (Our God reigns)
Keep in mind that Jesus Christ (Lucien Deiss)
Lord Jesus Christ, you have come to us (Living Lord)
Lord, the light of your love is shining
The Spirit lives to set us free
This is my body broken for you