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Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

September 25, 2007

A Week for Angels

There are two Catholic feasts honoring angels at the end of this month and the beginning of October. The first, on September 29, is the feast of the Archangels. These are the only named angels in all of Scripture; they are Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.

Raphael is mentioned in the book of Tobit as an aide to Tobiah, the son of Tobit, as he retrieves a fish that will heal his father’s blindness. Gabriel is the angel in Luke 1:26 who announces to Mary that she will be the Mother of God’s Son. September 29 was originally the sole feast of St. Michael, for it was on this day that a Mass and church in Rome was first dedicated to him. Michael is cited most often in the books of Daniel and Revelation as a defender against evil.

Remind your students about angels and what the Church believes about them. Angels are spiritual beings who were created by God prior to the creation of the universe. Though without bodies, angels have free will and a naturally superior intellect to humans. The word angel means “messenger.” As in the examples from Scripture, the angels prayerfully watch over people. In the New Testament angels assisted Jesus and his disciples.

God made angels joyful and good, but some angels turned away from God and were banished to hell. Satan, also known as Lucifer, is believed to be one of the “bad angels.” The bad angels, or devils, are able to tempt us to sin. In the same way, good angels personally watch out for us. Since about the third century, the Church has maintained, though not officially, that all baptized have guardian angels. The feast of Guardian Angels is on October 2.

The existence of angels recalls for us the creedal statement we pray each Sunday at Mass: “We believe in what is seen and unseen.” Angels are part of God’s unseen creation whose vocation is to serve God’s will.

St. Michael the Archangel Prayer

St. Michael is especially called upon to defend us against evil and evil spirits. The following prayer is addressed to him:

Holy Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God,
Thrust into hell Satan and all wicked spirits
Who wander through the world for the ruin of souls.

Angels Lesson Ideas

  • Read Revelation 12, which tells in figurative language the battle between evil, represented by the dragon, and God’s people. Note the reference to Michael and his angels in Revelation 12:7.
  • Cover in more detail the Church’s teaching on the existence of angels from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 328–336.
  • Call on two students to volunteer for an improvisation. One person takes the role of the guardian angel for the other. The two dialogue with one another, asking questions about each other’s actions, behaviors, and goals.
  • Have the students write letters to their guardian angels, querying them about their purpose.
  • Pray with the angels using other traditional prayers.

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