St. Mary’s Assyrian Chaldean Catholic parish celebrated the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in accordance with our Liturgical calendar on Wednesday, August 15th, 2012. After communion, the parish proceeded to the grotto of our Lady of Lourdes and with hymns and prayers honored her and asked for her intercession with her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, Him whom she bore. It was a glorious day for the gathered parishioners who celebrated the Feast of the Assumption for the first time on a weekday.
The Feast celebration of the Assumption and the offering of “Doukhrana D’ Mart Maryam” and the blessing of the Grapes was continued on Sunday, August 19th, as well. After the conclusion of the Holy Mass, Father Michael Barota together with the Deacons, the Alter children, and the Church Choir members, who were dressed in their beautiful new robes, moved in procession to the grotto once again. Hundreds of happy parishioners followed them and gathered around their clergy to witness the blessing of the agape meal “Doukhrana”, given in her honor and the Grapes. The custom of blessing of grapes, the first fruits of the harvest is a ceremony rich in symbolism and a tradition that has been in practice by the Assyrian Chaldean Catholics of Urmia, Iran for hundreds of years. On the day of the Feast of the Assumption, seedless grapes are offered in order to emphasize that this fruit came into being without seeds, just as Jesus Christ became ‘of’ her, the Virgin Mary without human agent. Celebrated is the person of the Mother of God, who gave birth to Jesus, the “first fruit”.
The entire parish then proceeded to the Church hall to share a memorial meal of mercy. The hospitality was prepared splendidly by the “Sisters of Mary” parish volunteers who worked diligently preparing a befitting Doukhrana and all the traditional trimmings for everyone to enjoy.