Q. Can you explain the difference between the Ascension and the Assumption?
A. Here’s a reply from TCA columnist Father Ray Ryland, Ph.D., J.D:
After His resurrection Jesus spent 40 days with His disciples. In that time His glorified resurrection body was veiled under the ordinary appearance of humanity. After His final words to His disciples (see Acts 1:7-8), the New Testament reports, “as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9). Men in white garments then reported that Jesus had been taken to heaven. This is His glorious ascension.
By use of the term “Assumption” we designate the entrance of the Blessed Virgin into glory. Here is the Second Vatican Council’s summary of this event in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: “The Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all guilt of original sin, on the completion of her earthly sojourn, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen of the universe, that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and the conqueror of sin and death” (No. 59).