“O Lord Jesus Christ,
who ascended into heaven
yet promised to be with us to the end of the age;
help us to abide in your love
and to trust that your work may be completed in us.
This we ask for your name's sake.”
Ascension Day has been celebrated since the fourth century in commemoration of Christ's ascension into heaven. It is celebrated forty days after Easter, the period during which, according to the Gospels, the appearances of the risen Christ continued. The details and chronology of the ascension are described in the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 1:6–14).
Christ is one person of the Trinity, of one being with the Father. At his ascension, he returned to his ageless work in the glory of heaven. Yet he remains present in the midst of his people in word and sacraments. Christians are called to bring the message of the risen Lord to the whole world.
Ascension Day prepares us for Pentecost, which ends the fifty days of Eastertide. It is one of the great feasts of the Church: there are six candles on the altar, and the liturgical colour is white.