Fr. Mike Paraniuk
Fr. Mike Paraniuk
By Fr. Mike Paraniuk
St. Mary Catholic Church (Hillsboro,
St. Benignus Catholic Church (Greenfield),
Holy Trinity Catholic Church (West Union) and
Saint Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church (Peebles)

The Catholic Christian Church believes that it was founded by Jesus Christ when He died on the Cross and rose again in 30 A.D. There is an unbroken line of Popes from St. Peter to Pope Francis today.

My priesthood can be traced back to the Last Supper. From the earliest days, the Catholic Christian Church has believed Mary never died but was “taken up” (assumed) into Heaven body and soul. Why do we Catholics believe this? Because Mary had no original sin. She was a pure vessel in which Jesus would take on human life in her womb. The effects of original sin which is death and decay would have no hold over her. (Take that Satan!)

Some may say, “Show me where the words 'Assumption of Mary' is in the Bible?”

I can’t. It is not in the Bible. But there are other beliefs that all Christians share where the word is not in the Bible.

I believe in the Incarnation of Jesus, but the word “Incarnation” is not in the Bible. The same goes for the word “Trinity.” Catholic Christians believe there are two ways in which God reveals His truth – the Word of God in the Bible and Apostolic Tradition. What’s that? It simply means what the Apostles “handed on” for the first Christians to believe.

I quote from the Apostle John a writing where he talks about what happened to Mary.

“And while she was praying, it came to pass that the heavens were opened, and the archangel Gabriel came down to her and said: ‘Hail, you that brought forth Christ our God! Your prayer having come through to the heavens has been accepted; and from this time, according to your request, you having left the world, shall go to the heavenly places to your Son, into the true and everlasting life.’”

There is solid evidence that the early church Fathers believed in the Assumption of Mary. Unlike other saints of the early Church that saved relics from their bodies, such as the bones of St. Peter and even the burial shroud of Jesus, there are no relics of Mary. This shows the early Church believed Mary’s body and soul was indeed assumed into heaven. No body. No relics.

In life, there are so many times God calls you to believe though you can’t see what you are to believe. I have never seen Mary taken up into Heaven, but I believe it.

My father passed to Heaven on the evening of Sunday, Aug. 7. He was 96. A long, full life well lived. Several years ago, we had a conversation about existing after death.

He said, “I believe I will, but I wish I had more certainty of that.”

I replied, “Dad, that’s what faith is all about.” I quoted him the Bible’s definition of faith in Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

I continued, “I have total certainty in God. Certainty means I can rely on Him. I’ve never seen God, but I don’t need to. I believe that God exists. I believe that God tells me the truth. God says we are created in His image, including you. (Genesis 1:26-27.) Since He made you in His image, God will always exist and so will you.”

He seemed comforted by what I said. He remarked, “I always tried to do the right thing. I do believe in God. I hope that gets me to Heaven.”

I replied, “Dad, don’t worry. You will.” Last Sunday, he did.

• Walt Paraniuk: Nov. 23, 1925-Aug. 7, 2022 – A decorated World War II Navy veteran who fought for our country at 17 years old. May flights of angels bring you to your rest.

A tribute from your son.