Feast of Angels

In the older Roman calendar today is the Feast of the Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel, which refers to a basilica dedicated in his honor. This has been the time of year to honor angels for a long time in the Roman Church. The ancient Veronese Sacramentary has an entry for “Natale Basilicae Angeli via Salaria” for 30 September. The Gelasian Sacramentary has a feast for “S. Michaelis Archangeli”. The Gregorian Sacramentary has “Dedicatio Basilionis S. Angeli Michaelis” for 29 September. It is possible that the basilica they were talking about was a long-gone church out the Via Salaria north of Rome. However, there is the monumental statue of St. Michael that looms over the City at the top of Hadrian’s mausoleum, known as Castel Sant’Angelo, placed there after the archangel signaled the end of a plague that had ravaged Rome.

In the new calender today all the Archangels are celebrated, while in the old we focus on St. Michael. And here is a nice depiction of all three angels easing down the road with Tobias:

In a few days we will have the Feast of the Guardian Angels.

Do you think about angels?   Do you consider your Guardian Angel or ask for help?   Do you remember that there are also fallen angels?


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30 Responses to Feast of Angels

  1. pogacnikr says:

    Cool. I do ask help of them. My confessor and spiritual leader even said, that I should give name to my guardian angel. And I did and it`s very good, because our realtionship is far more friendship like now.
    I sometimes do some adrenalistic stuff and then I think about all the work my guardian angel had to do. But I think his work is much harder when he has to stop me from sinning.

  2. VexillaRegis says:

    Every night, after the evening prayer, I say to my youngest, that his guardian angel will dwell in his room and watch over him aaall night. Usually he smiles, but one time he protested, and told us, that he wanted to be alone and not be disturbed by any fluttering :-) !

  3. asperges says:

    A traditional priest used to say that he used his guardian angel to ‘run errands’ and herald his frequent delays between masses. He urged us to do the same and speak to them. He said that at the end of our life we shall be astonished by the amount of protection afforded us daily by our guardian angels.

  4. Spaniard says:

    When I was a kid, I was told to ask, before sleeping, the name of my guardian angel so, in the morning, the first name that came to mind would be his. All my family did it, and they certainly told each of us their names. Beautiful way to pray to them, once you believe in them as really and constantly there!!

  5. Philangelus says:

    Yeah, pretty much all the time. And then I blog about it. LOL.

  6. Ben Dunlap says:

    Father, have you ever done a post on today’s EF Collect “Deus qui miro ordine”? Couldn’t find one with Google. The word “assistitur” is particularly intriguing, and grammatically puzzling (to me, anyway).

  7. Marine Mom says:

    Holy Guardian Angel who continuously beholds the Face of Our Father in heaven. God has entrusted me to you from the very beginning of my life and I thank you with all my heart for your love and care. I commit my to you and promise you my love and fidelity. Protect me from my own weakness and against the attacks of the evil spirits. Enlighten my mind and my heart that I may always know and accomplish the Will the of God, and lead me to Union with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen

  8. Girgadis says:

    I pray the Chaplet to St Michael every morning before Mass and also have a special devotion to St. Raphael for reasons I wish to remain private. On my trip to Italy last year, we visited was the town of Monte Sant’Angelo in Arpulia and specifically, the basilica there believed to have been consecrated by St Michael himself. If I could choose any place in the world to live out the rest of my life, it would be there, without a doubt. Some photos of the town and the exterior of the basilica at the link below. Photography is strictly forbidden inside the basilica.


  9. PostCatholic says:

    I do know a terrific joke about the archangels Gabriel, Raphael, Michael and Uriel playing cards and discussing their vacation plans, but I have a feeling many here wouldn’t enjoy it.

  10. JKnott says:

    Girgadis, thank you for the link on your visit to and photos of Mt St Angelo. Powerful chaplet too.
    Marine Mom, I also like that beautiful prayer of consecration to our holy guardian angel.

    Opus Sanctorum Angelorum http://www.opusangelorum.org/english.html
    Great site with very solid priests and teaching!
    They have posted the following prayer for the election:

    ?Election Prayer to the Guardian Angel
    of the United States
    ?O glorious Guardian Angel of the United States, to whom God has entrusted the care of our beloved country, we honor you and thank you for the care and protection you have given to this great nation from the first moment of its conception. O powerful Angel Guardian, whose watchful glance encompasses this vast land from shore to shore, we know that our sins have grieved you and marred the beauty of our heritage.
    Pray for us, O Holy Angel, before the throne of God. Obtain for us, from the Queen of Heaven, the graces we need to overcome the forces of evil so rampant in our beloved land. Help us, our God-given protector and friend, to offer the prayer and sacrifice necessary to bring peace and goodness to our nation. We want to make you known and loved throughout our land, so that with your help we may become once more one nation under God.

  11. Fr.Z or someone of the clerical rank, I need a questions answere. Seeing a few posts here on “naming” the guardian Angel, I’m a little worried. Over at Catholic Answers forums, in the traddy section, there once was a thread on this issue. The consensus was that getting the Name of your angel is a spiritual no-no, and if they give you a name they are a demon, not your guardian angel. So Is this true?

  12. Suburbanbanshee says:

    YC RC Male: It’s discouraged these days to ask for angels’ names, mostly because there was an angel occult fad back in the 1990′s, and all kinds of elaborate rituals and weirdness was going on. Some people do seem to have gotten into some Really Bad Stuff this way, although it usually seems to have been by approaching this idea in too much of a woo-woo way, or in a presumptuous way.

    Probably asking your guardian angel for a name to call him by is not intrinsically a bad idea, because lots of people do find it hard to remember a nameless angel person. But OTOH, people shouldn’t feel that they have to know their guardian angel’s name; and any name a person might “get” would probably only be an angel’s nickname anyway, so you might as well nickname your guardian angel yourself, I’d think.

    The thing is that, for whatever reason, our guardian angels don’t usually communicate with us (at least, not on a talky level). So although it’s normal to talk to your guardian angel in prayer, you can’t really demand that they talk back. Some proud people do, and thus can run into trouble with demons or their own delusions telling them what they demand to hear. Humble people, OTOH, can probably get all sorts of spiritual favors from their guardian angels that the rest of us can’t. Them’s the breaks.

    Anyway, folks who did this in the past and haven’t seen any evil fruits, especially those who got told to do it by spiritual directors or parents, are probably okay. People who do this innocently are probably okay. People who’ve been asked not to do it these days shouldn’t do it. It’s a pastoral tactical thing.

  13. Charles E Flynn says:

    “Twelve things to know about angels”, by Peter Kreeft, at Ignatius Insight Scoop.

  14. St. Epaphras says:

    Happy name day to all you Michaels!

  15. JKnott says:

    Young Canadian RC,
    I’m not a cleric but I have heard that discussion about naming of our guardian angel from the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross who are involved with Opus Angelorum.
    They teach that it is not appropriate to name our angels because the angels are far superior to us and given to us by God as His messenger to help and guide us , and that naming them, while we may think of it in a friendly and affectionate manner, is asserting a form of control over them which confuses the meaning of their vocation. These priests are superb in their treatment of the angels as taught by the Church and elevated above the norm of popular ideas of the angels. I think you might enjoy perusing through the spirituality over at Opus Angelorum.

  16. RichardC says:

    @ Girgardis That is the best picture of St. Therese that I have ever seen. Thanks.

  17. JKnott says:

    Also Young Canadian RC, the only place I have ever heard about names being demonic are the mantras that are given out to people when they get involved with Transcendentalism.
    Ordinary good people naming their own angels, while not advised, it not demonic. Some people name their angels female names. Angels are not feminine. I have heard of people naming their angels by the names of virtues. So there is the confusion. The angel is so much more.

  18. Corey F. says:

    Regarding the issue of naming one’s guardian angel, here is a post from Taylor Marshall citing the specific document which discourages the practice. I’ll just quote in full:

    “However, the Holy See does not allow this practice and formally discourages it. According to the Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, 216 (under the heading about Devotion to the Holy Angels):

    The practice of assigning names to the Holy Angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of Gabriel, Raphael and Michael whose names are contained in Holy Scripture.”


  19. St. Rafael says:

    This is the prayer I pray every day:

    Angel of God my guardian dear
    to whom God’s love commits me here
    Ever this day be at my side
    to light to guard to rule to guide.

    We don’t name our guardian angels because they are superior beings to us. In the prayer, we ask them To Rule over us. We don’t have ownership over them, which means we have no right to name them as we do children or pets. I always use the phrase “my guardian angel” or just “guardian angel” when addressing him.

  20. Warren says:

    I’m fairly certain that my guardian angel is overworked. :-)
    I frequently give thanks to God for my helper.

  21. albinus1 says:

    Michaelmas used to be one of the four Quarter Days in England, when rents were due and academic terms began. The others were Christmas, Lady Day (aka the Feast of the Annunciation), and Midsummer (aka the Feast of St. John the Baptist); the roughly coincide with the beginning of the seasons. See Daniel Poole’s What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: The Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century England.

  22. While I was praying my office this morning, and reflecting on the Archangels, I thought of what Saint Thomas Aquinas–and Pope Saint Gregory the Great–wrote about the various ranks or choirs of spirits. It was prompted by the reading today, from Pope St. Gregory, about how “angel” refers not to a nature, but an office.

    Did you know that all the various choirs of spirits are not “angels”?

    That led me to see if I could remember the nine choirs, and all I could come up with were eight. The ninth, which I couldn’t remember, were the “principalities.” Anyway, here are–per Saint Thomas, the Angelic Doctor, are the order of nine choirs (fyi, Saint Gregory ranks them differently):

    1. Seraphim
    2. Cherubim
    3. Thrones
    4. Dominions
    5. Virtues
    6. Powers
    7. Principalities
    8. Archangels
    9. Angels

    As I recall, St. Thomas made the point that the “lowest” spirits were those who interacted with us.

    In closing, I will pose our genial host a question: insofar as there is a feast day for guardian angels and archangels, is there a day on the calendar for any other of the choirs of angels?

    (And, by the way, all this is definitely speculative. It’s fun, but not dogmatic.)

  23. marthawrites says:

    I speak to my guardian angel many times each day, with the standard “Angel of God” prayer as part of my early morning prayers, then whenever I enter a highway and I say “Thank you, angel” all day long for small occurrences which could have turned out to my detriment. So my name for my guardian is “Angel” and that is certainly adequate. I figure God has His name for me and He has His name for my angel and I don’t need to know either.

  24. MargaretC says:

    When I was going through RCIA, I was slightly skeptical about guardian angels. I’ve discovered that, if you just leave your mind open to them, they find ways to communicate with you. I now regularly ask mine for help before I go to confession — after all, he’s much more aware of my sins than I am.

    I’ve never asked him his name, so I offer no opinion on the advisability of doing so. I assume that, about the time I undergo particular judgment, he’ll introduce himself, and I’ll be able to thank him.

  25. Ben Dunlap says:

    Thanks Fr. Fox — Interestingly enough, there is an antiphon that recurs throughout today’s feast in the EF Office, in which seven of the nine choirs are named, but not the cherubim or seraphim. Significant? Goodness knows!

  26. Bea says:

    Interesting topic you started here, Fr. Z. Just in time for their Feast Day. Thank you

    St. Rafael says:
    29 September 2012 at 1:23 pm
    This is the prayer I pray every day:

    Angel of God my guardian dear
    to whom God’s love commits me here
    Ever this day be at my side
    to light to guard to rule to guide.

    YES, St, Rafael, my prayer, too.
    Morning and night for sure and often during the day.

    He is such a loving guardian angel.
    Little things, that I suspect is Him interceding for me in trifling but important matters.
    Sending a breeze to close the door when my arms are full of packages.
    Dropping my pencil when I’m supposed to be doing something else (housework or getting ready to go to Mass) and if I pay no attention and continue doing crosswords, he sometimes makes it do a summersault so that I can’t reach it and I have to get up.
    If I acknowledge his presence, he sometimes makes the opposite happen (this I can’t figure out does he not want me to show gratitude or awareness?)
    I even made up a little prayer when there are no parking places near the door to be found, and he comes through 99% of the time:

    Angel of God
    My guardian, dear
    Help me to find
    A place that’s near.

    I taught it to a friend and her guardian angel comes through for her too.

    Oh, yes, they are around us, ever ready to help us poor mortals, if we only let them.

    I know there are evil angels out there, too. That’s when I grasp my St. Benedict Cross that I always wear whenever I leave the house (At home we have St. Benedict Crucifixes at our door entryways.)
    Which I always wear at night, too, to grasp at particular trying moments. God in His infinite Mercy has given them (guardian angels) to us as life jackets/life rings/life preservers to keep us afloat and not drift far from the barque of Peter.

  27. Jane says:

    Here is a personal experience, which I have put in my free online book: Help from Heaven (Answers to Prayer) at:


    The Confessional queue
    I was attending a talk by a renowned Catholic speaker from the USA. The speaker announced that a priest was hearing Confessions at the back of the hall. I was grateful for this opportunity. My husband asked me to wait for a while before joining the queue. Finally I went to the back of the hall. To my dismay, there was already a long queue, lined right up a ramp, which led to the room where Confession was being held. When I arrived there was already someone in the Confessional. This confession went on for a considerable time, and those waiting were a bit on edge. After I joined the queue, I looked up the ramp and all I saw was men. Being a woman I felt awkward and out of place.

    In addition the slowness of the first Confession, made me wonder how long it would take to clear this queue. An idea then came to me. I asked my guardian angel to ask the guardian angels of all the men in the queue, to please let me be the first in the queue because I am a woman; the ladies before gentlemen rule. Manners and chivalry are a thing of the past in my country, (Australia). Jump a queue, and you will quickly be made aware of people’s displeasure! After a while, the man at the top of the queue, came down the ramp and told me to go the top of the queue! Despite my prayer, I was stunned. I asked him to repeat that, just to make sure that I had properly understood him.

    Assured by his answer, I walked up the ramp past all the men. On the way up the ramp, I asked them if this was okay. There were no objections. They had obviously seen the man telling me to go up to the top of the queue. Also on the way up, I saw that there had been one lady in that queue, who had been hidden from my view. I wondered why my guardian angel, had answered my prayer, in view of the fact that I was not the only woman in the queue. It then occurred to me that the lady was younger than me! My guardian angel was applying another rule of good manners; older before younger!

  28. Mariana says:

    St. Michael the Archangel rendered me a signal favour a few years back, and I love him. Also my Guardian Angel, but I don’t feel like I could give him a name, such an exalted prince will have a splendid name already, I ask him to come and meet me and tell me his name when I get there!

  29. Marine Mom says:

    Fr Fox, In answer to your question about devotion to the other choirs of angels. In Devotion to the Nine Choirs of Angels, by Henri Marie Boudon suggests, “If you have good will to undertake it, you might apply yourself on
    Sunday to honor the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones
    Monday, the Dominations , Virtues and Powers
    Tuesday, the Principalities, Archangels and Angels
    Wednesday, angels of unbelievers and heretics
    Thursday, angels of kingdoms and provinces, of churches and altars, and specially those who attend
    our Divine King in the Most Holy Sacrament
    Friday, angels of your enemies, such persons that are a cause of trouble to you or injury
    Saturday, angels of your relatives and friends, those who most frequently associate; if you
    belong to a community, of those with whom you live, particularly spiritual friends
    and your director.”

  30. Johnno says:

    Churchmilitant.tv has a great segment abut the nature of angels here, highly recommended viewing!

    I’ll also repost a comment I made on Cantaur awhile ago since it’s relevant here…

    Interesting Topic. I must agree that it is prudent that people do not name their angels on their own initiative.

    1) Naming something signifies authority over it. God named the first man and woman. And Adam named the animals because man has authority over them. When a person’s name changes this is a remarkable event and symbolizes something bestowed on them by a higher power ex: Israel, Peter etc. Thus to take pains to name your angel yourself is to plae yourself at a higher authority over them. The Scriptures do state that we shall judge angels and have priveledges over them, but this refers specifically to the saints in heaven who have achieved that status or the the priveledge we are given on earth to repent and convert our hearts as we live in time and angels exist in eternity, therefore those angels who fall can never repent.

    2) It is prudent not to communicate with angels aside from the manners approved by the Church, as there are other angles out there who don’t have your best interests in mind.

    3) I too have heard cases where angels do reveal themselves and their names to those they look after, but these are usually to saints and highly pious and holy people under special circumstances. If you have some notion that you have been given your angel’s name, ask yourself whether you measure up to the holiness of any of these saints or the Virgin Mary… chances are you do not… so it is imprudent to assume that you have in fact gained this previledge of knowing your angel’s name.

    4) Finally, for all those who are asusming their Angel’s names are ‘Isaiah’ or ‘Joey’ or ‘Tom’, ‘Dick’ or ‘Harry’ etc. only prove that you in fact do not know your angel’s names. ALL Angels carry God’s title in their names. That of ‘El.’ As in ‘Rapha-El’, ‘Gabri – El’, ‘Micha-El’ and you’ll finds lists of other angel’s names and all end with the title of ‘El.’ And these names are specific to their authority or function or deeds. For example ‘Micha-El’ means in Hebrew “Who is like God?” This angel carries the name St. Michael (Micha-El) because when Satan and the rebellious angels sought to place themselves above God, Micha-El yelled out that sentence challenging them and all the other angelic hosts to see the folly in thinking any of them were God’ equal and thus in doing so established himself as the general in command of the Army of God, and so he bears the name Micha-El or ‘Michael.’ If any angle were to reveal their name to you it would contain the reference to God ‘El’ in their name. This is why you should not name your angel. In doing so you triviliaze the splendor of the angelic realities and the beautiful mystery of their existence and their purpose.