D. Springfield: revival of the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer

I received a very interesting note from a reader in my email today.   On the blog of Fr. Daren Zehnle called Servant and Steward I learn that His Excellency Most Rev. Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield has authorized for use the old St. Michael the Archangel Prayer by composed by Leo XIII in 1886 for recitation after Mass.

Bp. Paprocki wrote:

One of Satan’s greatest assets is his camouflage, the belief that he doesn’t exist. Disbelief in Satan and the forces of evil leave us unable to resist them. That is why it is good to remember the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. We need to remember that each time we pray we work to defeat our real enemies, not each other, but rather the devil and his evil spirits…

In recent years, a number of parishes have begun reciting the prayer once more, and many individual Catholics have kept up the practice. Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have urged the faithful to pray it daily, and especially after Mass.

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  1. bmccoy says:

    OOH-RAH! Perhaps, someday we will get all of the leonine prayers back?

  2. rfox2 says:

    Amen, again I say Amen! I never really understood the miracles recounted in the Gospels about Jesus healing the blind until I was an adult and saw the extreme blindness of people in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The lack of faith in God has completely blinded people to the spiritual reality, which is more real than what we sense with our five physical senses (if you’ll excuse the Thomistic reference to “real” – as in metaphysically real in the order of being). The devils are all around us!

    St. Michael, pray for us!

  3. At a nearby parish (St. Michael’s in Bedford, TX) those who attend daily Mass had begun to say the “St. Michael the Archangel” prayer at the end of Mass. Last week, the pastor told them, during Mass, that he would not allow this prayer to be said any more.

    So, it’s one thing to note that this prayer has fallen into disuse, it’s quite another to hear that it is forbidden.

    Miserere me, Deus.

  4. MichaelJ says:

    I am a bit confused about this. I was under the impression that, for good or ill, the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel had bee supressed. This is consistent with the fact that Bp. Paprocki has recently authorized its use. There is no need to allow something if it had not been previously disallowed, right?

    It is not consistent, though, with his statement that “Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have urged the faithful to pray it daily, and especially after Mass.”.

    Any help clearing up my confusion is appreciated.

  5. flyfree432 says:

    Our parish has prayed it for a year now, after Mass, as a matter of a private voluntary devotion.

  6. David says:

    This year, I attended my first extraordinary form mass. There have been many faith-boosting fruits from my experience, and one of those, that I miss now every time I go to a N.O. mass, is the prayers after mass. The St. Michael prayer, in particular, I find very useful for reminding us that we are, indeed, in a battle. Prayer is a powerful weapon.

    Just this week, I printed off these prayers to memorize and pray in private devotion after mass. May God bless Bp. Paprocki and the work he is doing.

  7. jarhead462 says:

    In 2006 I went to my first Mass in 23 years (aside from weddings and funerals). It was at a very Tradition- minded parish, and after the dismissal, I started to get up, and everyone got down on their knees, and started to say the Prayer to St. Michael. Needless to say after 8 years of “Catholic” School in the ’70s and ’80s I had NEVER heard this prayer! (grrrr!) Now it is a weapon in my daily arsenal.

    Semper Fi!

  8. Peggy R says:

    Our parish in NoVa began praying it out loud at the end of every mass somewhere between 9-11 and the DC Sniper episode. Evil was about us.

  9. Thomas S says:

    I’ve said it quietly after Mass for a few years now. If the recessional hymn is particularly awful I start right after the priest exits the sanctuary. Needless to say, that happens often. If I like the hymn, it’s a rush to get it in while people put their hymnals down and put on their coats, otherwise people will start saying hello and I’ll never get it said.

  10. ipadre says:

    Amen!!! We have recited it after my daily Mass for the past 8-1/2 years. Put down the grappin.

  11. albizzi says:

    I would be glad to hear anyone explaining the motives Pope Paul VI had in cancelling that prayer at the end of masses. This always looked in my opinion as a nonsense.
    Who can be offended if not only the Devil himself?
    In the same way, I don’t believe saying that prayer might be forbidden by anyone in the Church.
    For example, can a bishop sanction a priest because he says that prayer although it has been cancelled in the NO?
    On the contrary, refusing or neglecting stubbornly to ask St Michael’s assistance in the protection of the Church, of our countries, of our parishes, of our families looks to me like a serious sin.
    And everybody is able to discern in the bad state of the RCCC the nefarious effects of this refusal since almost 50 years.
    If our pastors are thinking that this prayer is useless, it is the duty of all the lay people to require them to recite it whichever may be their personal opinion.

  12. marthawrites says:

    The times when I’ve joined the rosary prayed outside Planned Parenthood, the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel always follows the Hail, Holy Queen before any ejaculations are said.

  13. Fr. Basil says:

    \\Perhaps, someday we will get all of the leonine prayers back\\
    ||So, it’s one thing to note that this prayer has fallen into disuse, it’s quite another to hear that it is forbidden.||
    {{I am a bit confused about this. I was under the impression that, for good or ill, the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel had bee supressed.}}


    There is an urban legend that Pope Leo XIII ordered these prayers said in response to a vision he had. The dates are against it.

    The Leonine Prayers were ORIGINALLY composed with the intention of protecting the temporal sovereignty of the Pope. Their intention was changed to “for the conversion of Russia.” Since it is now possible to openly practice Christianity, either Orthodoxy or Catholicism, in that country, this intention has been fulfilled.

    They were NEVER part of the Mass or printed in the Altar Missal. They were always labeled “Prayers After Low Mass”. In other words, they were NOT to be recited at the end of a Sung Mass, or even certain Low Masses, such as one at a marriage.

    I think one of the reasons they were so popular is that they were a public VERNACULAR devotion.

    I’m saying nothing against the prayers themselves, but asking that an objective look at their history be taken.

    BTW: Frequently, the Prayer to St. Michael has been confused with a LONGER “Exorcism to St. Michael”, attributed to Pope Leo XIII, along with the legend of the vision he actually didn’t have.

  14. Hooray and Deo Gratias for our bishop! Springfield has come a long way in the past decade!

  15. Henry Edwards says:

    My local parish began saying the St. Michael prayer after daily Mass about a year ago.

    Incidentally, if parishioners say this or any other prayer voluntarily immediately after Mass, such as while the celebrant and servers are processing out–rather than as a part of the Mass itself–would not this be a private devotion, rather than a part of the liturgy requiring some sort of permission?

  16. amenamen says:

    I love the prayer to St. Michael.
    I also love D. Springfield.

  17. shane says:

    Oddly enough at my local parish (Novus Ordo) the Leonine prayers are always recited after Mass. It is far from liturgical high (guitars, wreckovated altar etc) so I assume the parish priest (who is quite old) has been using them continuously since he was ordained.

  18. Glen M says:

    This prayer was suppressed? News to me. Doesn’t everyone say it after Hail Holy Queen after their daily Rosary? We also say it after a Low Mass. Did evil leave the world after V2 or something?

  19. We have been with the same Pastor for 10 years; as long as I remember, we have prayed the St. Michael Prayer after Mass. It is a normal thing in our family to pray the prayer, especially when we are sprinkling Holy Water or Blessed Salt around the house.

  20. Sandra_in_Severn says:

    For quite awhile now I have been remaining in the pew after the procession out and doing prayers, including the St. Michael Prayer. I am not yet as good at it as my mother, she can do them all from memory. I need a prayer book or prayer card to read off of.

  21. MissOH says:

    I thought I remembered that once mass is over and the priest has said his final blessing the Saint Michael prayer or any other prayer can be said. I had the chance to go to Saturday morning mass at a No. Va. parish for a few months last year and after the dismissal the priest led the congregation in the prayer. We have a new priest that just returned to our area after having been overseas for years and after he has dismissed the mass he goes to the foot of the altar and leads the prayer. I have been to mass at another parish that prays a pro-life prayer after daily mass. I would not mind all of the prayers to come back but especially the St. Michael prayer- the forces of evil and darkness are real and after us.

  22. heway says:

    Our little mission church says the Rosary before Mass and finishes it with the Prayerst. Michael -for at least 7 years that we have been there.

  23. moon1234 says:

    This must “reintroduction” of the leonine prayers must be unique to the Novus Ordo. I can’t think of one low Mass I have ever been to (never been to a low mass wedding.) where the leonine prayers were not recited.

    Even in parishes that have just recently started having an EF Mass, they have the leonine prayers as well. Even though this is a devotional, it is one of the parts after Mass that I most look forward to. As a child, who started out at the NO, our parish/school Priest always said the leonine prayers. I wonder if the “supression” happened more at liberal parishes vs conservative.

    When my childhood priest was killed, his replacement did NOT do the leonine prayers. ALL of the congregation, to this day, still recites ALL of the leonine prayers out loud after Mass. I no longer attend this parish as I am home with the EF in another cluster of parishes.

  24. Young Canadian RC Male says:

    First: HOORAH!!!!! All you people with the St. Michael’s prayer after Mass are so fortunate! Especially if it’s the FULL St. Michael’s prayer.

    I only know about the first portion of it because I went to a school of which it is named after Saint Michael.

    Seriously someone should pass this onto Benedict XVI and maybe if we’re lucky he will issue something like S.P. that says “St. Michael’s FULL prayer after mass was never aborgated.”

  25. Liz says:

    I love this prayer. Like so many readers I never learned it until a few years back. We say it a lot now.

  26. irishgirl says:

    OORAH to Bishop Paprocki! And thank you, Father Zehnle for letting us know!
    I pray the Prayer to St. Michael at the end of my Rosary. I’ve done it for many, many years, ever since I heard a very holy traditional priest mention it on his radio Rosary program.
    We definitely need the help of St. Michael in the battle against evil!

  27. LaxMom25 says:

    Love this prayer also. Our family had been saying the Leonine prayers for some time now, regardless of what form of Mass we are attending. A few years back, while residing on a military base and occasionally assisting the Mass there (daily NO was all we attended), the well-intentioned deacon pronounced that, in anticipation of a large/massive deployment of marines, we would begin saying the prayer together after Holy Mass. I questioned the reasoning to myself, but was grateful that the result was that the prayer/devotion would be introduced to many and lead to a greater awareness of the spiritual battles and wickedness in the world. Shortly thereafter, it was announced that we were not “authorized” to recite the prayer collectively and vocally after Holy Mass. No explanation otherwise.

    We have since moved, and our experience is that in every single parish in this diocese, the Saint Michael prayer is recited after Holy Mass. Our paster,on his knees before processing from the altar, leads us in a Hail Mary followed by the Saint Michael prayer.

    We were just introduced to the longer Saint Michael exorcism prayer. Wow. Now that’s a solid prayer.

    In Christ, during this Sacred Triduum,

  28. bookworm says:

    I wasn’t going to blog at all during the Triduum (you see how long that resolution lasted) but this news is indeed just too cool to pass up. This is the first I have heard of this since I haven’t gotten my Catholic Times yet, and last checked Fr. Zehnle’s blog several days ago before he posted anything about this.

    It would be an extra added bonus if the St. Michael prayer is effective against severe weather including tornadoes, hail, high winds and flash floods (we’ve been having lots of those lately).

  29. tealady24 says:

    Yes! All the prayers instituted by Pope Leo XIII should be brought back to STOP the faithful from exiting en masse to go out into the world to cut each other off for another week. We pray these sublime prayers each week at our Tridentine Mass. Pray always and unceasingly.

  30. GloriaDei says:

    Fr. Basil, I am fascinated by the certainty with which you declare Pope Leo XIII did not have a vision involving St. Michael and Satan. Please enlighten us as to how you could possibly know whether or not the Holy Father had, or did not have, this vision.

  31. bookworm says:

    “There is no need to allow something if it had not been previously disallowed, right?”

    Not necessarily. There can be legitimate confusion as to whether something is allowed or not, particularly when there is no official directive either forbidding it or allowing it. A directive allowing the action simply clears up any remaining confusion.

    Obviously the St. Michael/Leonine prayers were never “disallowed” for PRIVATE recitation by the faithful after Mass. You can say any prayers you like, privately, at any time. The question is whether or not these prayers can or should be included in the PUBLIC liturgy with public recitation led by the priest. What Bp. Paprocki has done is clarify that in his diocese, it is permitted, and in fact encouraged.

  32. ray from mn says:

    I say it with my morning prayers. And after reading this, I will be saying it with my Rosaries, too.

  33. Amy Giglio says:

    It’s printed in the center of the OCP Today’s Missal, after the dismissal & alongside the Anima Christi, in case anyone here wants to say it but didn’t want to print it out. They moved it from the back cover before advent of 2010.

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