The Holy Father’s Intentions for the Month of SEPTEMBER 2023
For people living on the margins: We pray for those persons living on the margins of society, in inhumane life conditions; may they not be overlooked by institutions and never considered of lesser importance. (See also http://www.popesprayerusa.net/)
ORDINARY TIME September 29th
Feast of Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, Archangels
Other Commemorations: St. John of Dukla, Religious (RM) ; Other Titles: Michaelmas; Jan of Dukla
The liturgy celebrates the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, archangels who are venerated in the tradition of the Church. Michael (Who is like God?) was the archangel who fought against Satan and all his evil angels, defending all the friends of God. He is the protector of all humanity from the snares of the devil. Gabriel (Strength of God) announced to Zachariah the forthcoming birth of John the Baptist, and to Mary, the birth of Jesus. His greeting to the Virgin, “Hail, full of grace,” is one of the most familiar and frequent prayers of the Christian people. Raphael (Medicine of God) is the archangel who took care of Tobias on his journey.
The Roman Martyrology also commemorates St. Jan of Dukla (1414-1484) who was born in Dukla, Poland in 1414. He joined the Friars Minor Conventual, a religious order who strictly adhered to their rule of poverty and obedience. Though he went blind later in age he was able to prepare sermons with the help of an aide. His preaching was credited in bringing people back to the Church in his province. He died in Ukraine in 1484. Soon after his death, there was an immediate at his tomb and several miracles were attributed to him. On June 10, 1997, he was canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II in a Mass at Krosno, Poland before approximately one million people.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that, “The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition” (#328).
“In her liturgy, the Church joins with the angels to adore the thrice-holy God. She invokes their assistance (in the funeral liturgy’s In Paradisum deducant te angeli. . .[“May the angels lead you into Paradise. . .”]). Moreover, in the “Cherubic Hymn” of the Byzantine Liturgy, she celebrates the memory of certain angels more particularly (St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and the guardian angels)” (#335).
Angels are pure, created spirits. The name angel means servant or messenger of God. Angels are celestial or heavenly beings, on a higher order than human beings. Angels have no bodies and do not depend on matter for their existence or activity. They are distinct from saints, which men can become. Angels have intellect and will, and are immortal. They are a vast multitude, but each is an individual person. Archangels are one of the nine choirs of angels listed in the Bible. In ascending order, the choirs or classes are 1) Angels, 2) Archangels, 3) Principalities, 4) Powers, 5) Virtues, 6) Dominations, 7) Thrones, 8) Cherubim, and 9) Seraphim.
The previous liturgical calendar (1962) celebrated solely the feast of St. Michael on September 29. St. Gabriel was observed on March 24 and St. Raphael on October 24. This is why there are more traditions regarding “Michaelmas” instead of all three archangels.
The name of the archangel Michael means, in Hebrew, who is like unto God? and he is also known as “the prince of the heavenly host.” He is usually pictured as a strong warrior, dressed in armor and wearing sandals. His name appears in Scripture four times, twice in the Book of Daniel, and once each in the Epistle of St. Jude and the Book of Revelation. From Revelation we learn of the battle in heaven, with St. Michael and his angels combatting Lucifer and the other fallen angels (or devils). We invoke St. Michael to help us in our fight against Satan; to rescue souls from Satan, especially at the hour of death; to be the champion of the Jews in the Old Testament and now Christians; and to bring souls to judgment.
This day is referred to as “Michaelmas” in many countries and is also one of the harvest feast days. In England this is one of the “quarter days,” which was marked by hiring servants, electing magistrates, and beginning of legal and university terms. This day also marks the opening of the deer and other large game hunting season. In some parts of Europe, especially Germany, Denmark, and Austria, a special wine called “Saint Michael’s Love” (Michelsminne) is drunk on this day. The foods for this day vary depending on nationality. In the British Isles, for example, goose was the traditional meal for Michaelmas, eaten for prosperity, France has waffles or Gaufres and the traditional fare in Scotland used to be St. Michael’s Bannock (Struan Micheil) — a large, scone-like cake. In Italy, gnocchi is the traditional fare.
Patronage: against danger at sea; against temptations; ambulance drivers; arms manufacturers; artists; bakers; bankers, banking; barrel makers, coopers; battle; cutlers, knife grinders, knife sharpers; dying people; emergency medical technicians, EMTs, paramedics; fencers; fencing; Greek Air Force; greengrocers; grocers; Guild of Tanners and Weavers of Barcelona, Spain; haberdashers; hatmakers, hatters, cap makers; holy death; knights; mariners, sailors, watermen; boatmen; milliners; paratroopers; police officers; radiologists (proclaimed on 15 January 1941 by Pope Pius XII); radiotherapists; scale makers; security guards; sick people; soldiers; Spanish police officers; storms at sea; swordsmiths. See CatholicSaints.info for a whole list.
Symbols and Representation: Angel with wings; dressed in armor; lance and shield; scales; shown weighing souls; millstone; piercing dragon or devil; banner charged with a dove; symbolic colors orange or gold.
St. Gabriel’s name means “God is my strength.” Biblically he appears three times as a messenger. He had been sent to Daniel to explain a vision concerning the Messiah. He appeared to Zachary when he was offering incense in the Temple, to foretell the birth of his son, St. John the Baptist. St. Gabriel is most known as the angel chosen by God to be the messenger of the Annunciation, to announce to mankind the mystery of the Incarnation.
The angel’s salutation to our Lady, so simple and yet so full of meaning, Hail Mary, full of grace, has become the constant and familiar prayer of all Christian people.
Patronage: Ambassadors; broadcasting; childbirth; clergy; communications; diplomats; messengers; philatelists; postal workers; public relations; radio workers; secular clergy; stamp collectors; telecommunications; Portugal; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.
Symbols and Representation: Archangel; scepter and lily; MR or AM shield; lantern; mirror; olive branch; scroll with words Ave Maria Gratia Plena; Resurrection trumpet; shield; spear; lily; symbolic colors, silver or blue.
Our knowledge of the Archangel Raphael comes to us from the book of Tobit. His mission as wonderful healer and fellow traveller with the youthful Tobias has caused him to be invoked for journeys and at critical moments in life. Tradition also holds that Raphael is the angel that stirred the waters at the healing sheep pool in Bethesda. His name means “God has healed.”
Patronage: Blind; bodily ills; counselors; druggists; eye problems; guardian angels; happy meetings; healers; health inspectors; health technicians; love; lovers; mental illness; nurses; pharmacists; physicians; shepherds; against sickness; therapists; travelers; young people; young people leaving home for the first time; Archdiocese of Dubuque, Iowa; Archdiocese of Seattle, Washington.
Symbols and Representation: Staff; wallet and fish; staff and gourd; archangel; young man carrying a staff; young man carrying a fish; walking with Tobias; holding a bottle or flask; symbolic colors, gray or yellow.
Highlights and Things to Do:
- This is a good feast to learn more about the angels. Children especially are fascinated by these celestial beings. The best place to start is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 328-336 to see the teachings of the Church on angels. John Paul II also did a Catechesis on the Angels during his General Audiences from July 9 to August 20, 1986.
- Find the passages in the Bible about angels, in particular the passages about Michael, Gabriel and Raphael.
- Read the section on angels in the Directory on Popular Piety and Liturgy. The document examines the doctrine and devotions of the angels. Devotion to angels is good, but also can have deviations.Devotion to the Holy Angels gives rise to a certain form of the Christian life which is characterized by:
- devout gratitude to God for having placed these heavenly spirits of great sanctity and dignity at the service of man;
- an attitude of devotion deriving from the knowledge of living constantly in the presence of the Holy Angels of God — serenity and confidence in facing difficult situations, since the Lord guides and protects the faithful in the way of justice through the ministry of His Holy Angels. Among the prayers to the Guardian Angels the Angele Dei is especially popular, and is often recited by families at morning and evening prayers, or at the recitation of the Angelus.
217. Popular devotion to the Holy Angels, which is legitimate and good, can, however, also give rise to possible deviations:
- when, as sometimes can happen, the faithful are taken by the idea that the world is subject to demiurgical struggles, or an incessant battle between good and evil spirits, or Angels and daemons, in which man is left at the mercy of superior forces and over which he is helpless; such cosmologies bear little relation to the true Gospel vision of the struggle to overcome the devil, which requires moral commitment, a fundamental option for the Gospel, humility and prayer;
- when the daily events of life, which have nothing or little to do with our progressive maturing on the journey towards Christ are read schematically or simplistically, indeed childishly, so as to ascribe all setbacks to the devil and all success to the Guardian 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.
- Also read All About the Angels.
- Memorize the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Although no longer formally recited after Mass, Pope St. John Paul II has encouraged us to recite this prayer daily. Read about this prayer. Here is the Regina Caeli message from April 24, 1994 during which the Pope encouraged this prayer.
- In honor of St. Gabriel, Learn the Angelus and recite it daily. Traditionally, the prayer is prayed at the 6:00 and 12:00 hours (am and pm). There is a partial indulgence attached to those who pray this prayer.
- Read the Book of Tobit for the story of St. Raphael helping Tobit and Tobias.
- Find out more about the archangels:
- Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Gabriel
- Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Raphael
- Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Michael
- The Golden Legend: St. Michael
- New Liturgical Movement: St. Raphael
- New Liturgical Movement: Apparition of St. Michael
- New Liturgical Movement: Gabriel, The Messenger Angel
- Catholic Ireland
- CatholicSaints.info: St. Gabriel
- CatholicSaints.info: St. Michael
- CatholicSaints.info: St. Raphael
- Make some recipes related to Michaelmas. See the right blue sidebar for a list of suggestions. Of special mention is the St. Michael Bannock from Scotland (see also this version), roast goose and stuffing from Britain, waffles from France, and roast duck from Germany or France, gnocchi from Italy. Blackberries, apples and carrots also play a large role on this feast in various countries. Other ideas: make an angel food cake, devil’s food cake or angel hair pasta. Decorate with white, symbolizing the angels, or use other symbolic colors (see above). Non-dessert items: deviled eggs, deviled meats, etc.
- Try to find the Michaelmas daisy, a purple aster, to use for decoration. It also comes in other colors, including white, but purple is the most popular. It usually blooms in late summer until October. The official name is Aster novi-belgii, but is also known as New York aster. If you find plants or seeds to plan for next year’s garden. This site has photos and gardening information for the Michaelmas daisy.
- Folklore in the British Isles suggests that Michaelmas day is the last day that blackberries can be picked. It is said that when St. Michael expelled Lucifer, the devil, from heaven, he fell from the skies and landed in a prickly blackberry bush. Satan cursed the fruit, scorched them with his fiery breath, and stamped and spat on them, so that they would be unfit for eating. A traditional Irish proverb says:
On Michaelmas Day the devil puts his foot on the blackberries.If you have access to blackberries, make this the last picking and eating. Perhaps make a blackberry pie? See Michaelmas Pie for a great recipe.
- Catholic Cuisine has many unique food suggestions for this feast day.
St. John of Dukla
St. John (or Jan) of Dukla was a Franciscan missionary who was born in Dukla, Galicia, Poland, around 1414 and grew up a deeply religious person. He began his religious life as a hermit but then entered the Conventual Franciscans and was ordained. From 1440-1463 he labored as a preacher, and he was elected superior of the monastery because of his holiness and sound judgment. After serving his term in the monastery, John traveled as a missionary to the area of Lvov, in the Ukraine. There a group of Observant Franciscans, called the Bernardines, were conducting their ministries. John was attracted by the Bernardine spirit and transferred to that branch of the order. He was stricken with blindness in the last years of his life, but he did not retire from his pastoral duties. John preached and found his way to the confessional by groping along the pews. He died in Lvov, on September 29, 1484, a beloved priest. He was beatified in 1733 by Pope Clement XII. Pope John Paul II canonized John in Krosno, Poland, on June 10, 1997.
—Excerpted from Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints, Matthew Bunson, Margaret Bunson, Stephen Bunson
Patronage: Poland and Lithuania
Highlights and Things To Do:
- Read more about St. John:
- You can hike to see his hermitage on the slopes of the Zaśpit Mountain in Poland.
- Read the homily for the Mass for the Canonization of Blessed John of Dukla, Homily of John Paul II.
- Read Pope St. John Paul II’s address at the Visit to the Tomb of Blessed John of Dukla from June 9, 1997.
Daily Meditation: John 1:47-51
You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending. (John 1:51)
Jesus was shrewd. He could see that Nathanael wasn’t going to be easily convinced that he was the Messiah, let alone follow him. But he wanted to help this faithful Jew. So he used a tried-and-true method employed by many wise rabbis. He linked his new teaching to something familiar and established from the Torah. That way, Nathanael might see the connection between Jesus and the faith he loved: the faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
But Jesus was also subtle. He didn’t mention Jacob by name or his “stairway to heaven” (Genesis 28:11-17). He just used a few familiar words from Jacob’s dream: “angels of God ascending and descending” (28:12; John 1:51). Those angels surely sparked Nathanael’s memory and opened him up to a new encounter with the God of his fathers. Just as Jacob saw heaven opened and the angels going up and down, so would Nathanael—as he followed Jesus. Using the Scriptures that Nathanael so revered, Jesus told him something revolutionary: he himself was the new meeting place. He was the new connection between heaven and earth.
Today, on the feast of the Archangels, rejoice that Jesus is infinitely creative in helping you to encounter him. Just as he led Nathanael, he will lead you to faith. He might even use angels! Heavenly messengers like Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael can remind you of God’s work in the past and ignite your hope for the future.
Gabriel helped Mary to trust in God’s promise and calmed her fears (Luke 1:30, 37). Raphael guided Tobias and healed his father, Tobit (Tobit 6:1-4; 11:11-14). And Michael defends God’s children whenever we experience temptation (Revelation 12:7). These emissaries from heaven are always available to help you. So pray to see “heaven opened.” Ask for the grace to behold Jesus and “the angels of God.” Jesus stands ready to meet with you; he will bring heaven down to earth for you!
“Angels of God, help me to see Jesus and the glories of heaven!”
Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14
September 29, 2023 –
Sts. Michael, Gabriel & Raphael
Daniel 7:9-10,13-14 [or Revelation 12:7-12] + John 1:47-51
“… you will see Heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
About a month from now, the Church will celebrate All Saints’ Day, when we spend time thinking about the “lives of the saints”. But it’s difficult to read and learn about the lives of today’s saints since they haven’t led “lives” in our usual sense of the word. Furthermore, their lives are still going on as always. Still, these three saints—the archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael—are a very important part of our Catholic prayer and belief.
These archangels—among the most important of all the angels—are messengers who carry the most important messages from God to human beings like us.
St. Michael, in the beginning, was the one who had to fight against the devil, and force him out of Heaven as punishment for turning against God. At the end of time, it will be St. Michael who will lead all the good angels in battle against the fallen angels in league with the devil. But in between the beginning and end of time, Michael protects all those who call upon him, to defend them in the day of battle, which is any day when we face temptation, and are tempted not to love God completely, or tempted not to love our neighbor as our self.
St. Gabriel, by contrast , goes to the heart and center of history, with the most important message that God ever wanted delivered. It was Gabriel whom God chose to deliver the message to Mary that she should be our Blessed Mother, because God’s own Son should be born from her, that Son destined to be the Savior of all mankind.
In these archangels, we honor three models for the vocation to which God has called all of us through the Sacrament of Baptism. In word and action, we—like the angels—serve God, and bear His messages to others, all of which are about the sort of love with which God loves us.
Even when we have sinned, God continues to love us, and wants us to draw closer to Him through Jesus. But when we pray and realize how great God’s mercy towards us is, we are called to take that same message to others, and let others know of God’s love for them. Even more, we are called to offer forgiveness to others: to be God’s messenger of love and mercy by forgiving others in the same way that God has forgiven us.
In 1830, one of the apparitions sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church occurred in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Rue de Bac, Paris. There were three visions given to Saint Catherine Laboure who, at the time of the first one, was a novice in the order. She was awakened at 11:30 PM on the eve of the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, by a “shining child” who led her to the chapel where she saw Our Lady, who spoke to her for two hours about the difficult task that lay ahead. Four months later, on November 27 Catherine had the second vision wherein she saw a three-dimensional scene of the Blessed Virgin standing on a white globe with dazzling rays of light streaming from her fingers and she heard a voice say:
“There now formed around the Blessed Virgin a frame rather oval in shape on which were written in letters of gold these words: ‘O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee’ Then the voice said: ‘ Have a medal struck upon this model. All those who wear it, when it is blessed, will receive great graces especially if they wear it round the neck. Those who repeat this prayer with devotion will be in a special manner under the protection of the Mother of God. Graces will be abundantly bestowed upon those who have confidence.’ “
This sacramental from Heaven was at first called simply the Medal of the Immaculate Conception, but began to be known as the Miraculous Medal due to the unprecedented number of miracles, conversions, cures, and acts of protection attributed to Our Lady’s intercession for those who wore it.
Sister Catherine became Saint Catherine in 1947. The church instituted recognition of the apparition in which the Miraculous Medal first appeared for November 27, 1830. Millions of the Miraculous Medal have been distributed, and many graces and miracles have been received through this devotion to Our Lady.
BROWN SCAPULAR OF MT. CARMEL
shall never suffer eternal fire.”
Virgin Mary’s promise to Saint Simon Stock
July 16, 1251″Wear it devoutly and perserveringly,” she says to each soul, “it is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”
The scapular is an external sign of the filial relationship established between the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Mount Carmel, and the faithful who entrust themselves totally to her protection, who have recourse to her maternal intercession, who are mindful of the primacy of the spiritual life and the need for prayer.
THE SABBATINE PRIVELEGE
The blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel has promised to save those who wear the scapular fromthe fires of Hell; She will also shorten their stay in Purgatory if they should passfrom this world still owing some temporal debt of punishment.
The Blessed Virgin appeared to him and speaking of those who wear the Brown Scapular said: “I, the Mother of grace, shall descend on the Saturday after their death and whomsoever I shall find in Purgatory, I shall free, so that I may lead them to the holy mountain of life everlasting.”
Pope Benedict XV proceeded to grant an indulgence of 500 days for each time the cloth Scapular is kissed”. On July 16th, the Scapular feast, while addressing the seminarians of Rome, Benedict XV said: “Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: the language, the sentences of the Gospel; the common armor, the Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel, which you all ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege of protection even after death.”
Pope Benedict XV, addressing seminarians in Rome:“Let all of you have a common language and a common armor: The language, the sentences of the Gospel – the common armor, the Brown Scapular of the Virgin of Carmel which you ought to wear and which enjoys the singular privilege and protection after death.”The Brown Scapular | A Sacramental“One of the most remarkable effects of sacramentals is the virtue to drive away evil spirits whose mysterious and baleful operations affect sometimes the physical activity of man. To combat this occult power the Church has recourse to exorcism, and sacramentals” (The Catholic Encyclopedia., 1913, VXIII, p. 293).The Brown Scapular | A True StoryYou will understand why the Devil works against those who promote the brown scapular when you hear the true story of Venerable Francis Yepes. One day his Scapular fell off. As he replaced it, the Devil howled, “Take off that habit which snatches so many souls from us! All those clothed in it die piously and escape us!” Then and there Francis made the Devil admit that there are three things which the demons are most afraid of: the Holy Name of Jesus; theHoly Name of Mary and the Holy Scapular of Carmel.“Modern Heretics make a mockery of wearing the Scapular. They decry it as so much trifling nonsense.” – St. Alphonsus LigouriMary, Mother of God and Our Mother“When Mary became the Mother of Jesus, true God and true Man, She also became our Mother. In His great mercy, Jesus wished to call us His brothers and sisters, and by this name He constituted us adopted children of Mary.” – St. John BoscoOver the years there have also been many miracles associated with wearing the brown scapular.
*If you would like a brown scapular click here:
New Catholic Radio Station serving Chittenden County
Donna McSoley stands in St. Francis Xavier Church in Winooski. She is the driving force behind a new Catholic radio station. Photo by Gail Callahan
WINOOSKI – In a state identified in a national study two years ago as one of the least religious in the country, a new Catholic radio station is being hailed by the market and people of faith.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio, which can be found at 105.5 FM, transmits 24-hour daily programming of the Eternal Word Television Network from the St. Francis Xavier Church property in Winooski. The station can be heard in the greater Burlington area and started broadcasting earlier this fall.
Donna McSoley, the driving force behind WRXJ 105.5 FM, said she is eager to begin producing some local programming after she learns more about audio editing software. McSoley said one of her ambitions is to air homilies from priests who serve the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington.
“I wanted to bring Catholic radio to Vermont because many people here have rejected Christianity without even knowing much about church history, the early church fathers, or never having read the Bible in its entirety,” said McSoley. “Our state is in crisis over heroin and other drugs, and many people are lost and are desperately searching for freedom from addictions and a greater meaning in life.”
In 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted the Religious Landscape study, and Vermont tied as the 48th most religious state. The study found 34 percent of the Green Mountain State’s adults said they are “highly religious.”
A state’s spiritual devotion was measured by factors including “absolute belief in God and daily prayer.”
The Rev. Lance Harlow, rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph’s Co-Cathedral in Burlington, records in WRXJ radio’s Winooski station. Courtesy photo
McSoley, a parishioner at St. Francis Xavier Church, began the quest to secure a broadcast license more than five years ago when the Federal Communications Commission opened a small window to own a channel on the FM spectrum for a low-power station. It took about 18 months to secure the FCC’s approval.
McSoley accesses the station’s computers remotely from her Essex Junction home.
She said a radio station can reach people in ways other media outlets can’t. “Radio can be a great way to reach people in the privacy of their own car and where people are apt to ponder life’s great questions,” she said. “I think for that reason, radio can be a great way to explain the Catholic faith, which is largely misunderstood by the general public. … My hope is that the programs on the station can clear this up and we can foster greater unity within the Christian community here in Vermont.”
Ted Quigley, a practicing Catholic, embraces the organization. “105.5 FM is a wonderful change in my life,” he said. “I turn it on when I’m driving or when I’m home cleaning.”
The Most Rev. Christopher Coyne, bishop of Vermont’s Catholics, recorded some station identifications that play through the hour.
Coyne, who was named by Pope Francis to shepherd Vermont’s Catholics nearly two years ago, said he welcomes the station, praising McSoley’s efforts. “The Catholic community in Vermont has been very supportive of the launch of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Radio,” said Coyne. “Right now, this is the only Catholic radio station in Vermont. I hope to see many more begin to broadcast soon.”
Coyne’s remarks regarding the dearth of religious broadcasting in Vermont underscore what many perceive as an absence of God from the public dialogue. The FCC said it doesn’t keep track of content when license applications come in.
The program director for a Christian radio network serving Vermont said religious-oriented radio outlets are filling a much-needed niche. Bob Pierce, of The Light Radio Network, said his Christian station reaches about 15,000 listeners in Chittenden County.
In a competitive market, McSoley said she is anxious for WRXJ’s message to spread. “Although Vermont is one of the least religious states in the country, I have great faith that people will always be able to recognize truth when they hear it, so my hope is that many people will turn on the radio and start the journey toward discovering God,” she said.