August the 15th is Assumption Day and a national holiday in France. I will be joining the Mother Mary procession along the Seine.
It is a special day of celebration for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, who call it the Dormition of Mary.
Assumption is my favourite Marian holiday, that is also the anniversary of my formal conversion into Catholicism.
It is also the date that I found myself mysteriously brought to the Assumption Eve celebration in Rocamadour years ago that started to crystallise many spiritual events in my life that lead to my conversion.
Families all over the France gather together for a celebratory meal. If they are not already on vacation, they usually will turn it into a long weekend, making the streets of Paris the quietest ones in the year.
On the eve of the this fete, Notre Dame cathedral has a traditional procession for the faithful on bateau mouches plying up and down the Seine.
Invitations are from the diocese, but go quickly as you might guess. With the lighted monuments along the Seine, the procession is beautiful to watch from the banks.
Processions honoring the Virgin Mary take place all over France today. Along the coastal cities there will be flotillas on the sea to honor Our Lady.
In the countryside as well, there will be processions to local shrines. My favorite takes place In the medieval walled city of Rocamadour, perched high on the edge of a steep cliff.
You can read about my very mysterious journey here:
A renown Marian shrine as famous and as visited as Lourdes. La Vierge Noir de Rocamadour has drawn pilgrims and Kings from all over the world.
I could not be back in Rocamadour this year, but instead will meet in front of Notre Dame this afternoon as I usually do, and walk in procession through L’ile de la Cité and L’ile St. Louis, along the banks of Seine.
This year, I will be walking with an aching and painful heart from the loss of my son. My own tears are certainly known and shared with Holy Mary Theotokos, who loss her own son on the cross.
Singing and chanting from my heart gives me solace as I walk almost in a trance like meditated state as we slowly wind along our way.
I will nevertheless rejoice in remembrance of this special day.
Our hearts and soul are in as much need of spiritual nourishment as our body for food. Be it on a mountain top, along the sea, or in the quiet of your garden, I hope you will find time for your own introspection, prayer and gratitude for the blessings you have today.
Note: This is a updated post of where I will be today praying for my home country scared with racial hatred and violence and world peace threatened anew.