The Feast of the Archangels is one of those feast days that my family makes a special point of remembering during the liturgical year. We celebrate it in my family because one of my sons is named Gabriel, and our baby in heaven is named Raphael.
When the kids were little we celebrated every year with another family. We would go to their house one year, and they would come to mine another year. It was a lot of fun and it was good for the children. As time went on though, their kids ended up going to Catholic school and with fall activities and dances and other commitments it was harder to get together and eventually we stopped celebrating with that particular family.
But I didn't want to lose the specialness of this feast day, so we started asking other families and friends to visit with us. So over the years the faces around the table have changed, but we have always made more of a big deal over celebrating this feast day.
This year, with the feast on a Tuesday, and knowing that tonight was going to be extra-busy, we decided to go ahead and have our special dinner on the eve. It was just the immediate family, but it was still a nice celebration.
Who are the archangels?The Sacred Scriptures have revealed the proper names of only three Angels, all of whom belong to the Choir of the Archangels. The names are well known to all, namely: Michael, Gabriel, Raphael.
History of the Feast daySeptember 29 was traditionally Michaelmas - the feast of St. Michael. We now recognize all three archangels on this day.
From fairly early on, Michaelmas was an important holiday, the religious or Christian equivalent of the autumn equinox. In England, it was considered the start of a new quarter. It marked the start of a new business year, a time for electing officials, making contracts, paying rent, hiring servants, holding court and starting school.
Obviously we still see the remnants of this in the timing of our elections and school year. This is also a time when the weather is known to change. In Italy, they say "For St. Michael, heat goes into the heavens." In Ireland, people expect a marked decrease in sickness or disease. The Irish also consider this a lucky day for fishing:
Today is also one of the 4 English "Quarter Days," days which fall around the Equinoxes or Solstices and mark the beginnings of new natural seasons (i.e., Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall) and which were used in medieval times to mark "quarters" for legal purposes, such as settling debts. The other days like this are: Lady Day (the Feast of the Annunciation) on March 25, the Feast of St. John on June 24, and Christmas on December 25. Fisheaters.com
From Catholic Culture.com
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.
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.
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".
How we celebrate.
It has took me some time to get statues of all three archangels. When I had the money, I bought them. Last year Rosie is going to make the peg saint versions of them as well.
Here is what our table looked like two years ago for dinner on the feast day. We have a traditional Angel Hair pasta chicken dish, deviled eggs, angel food cake and some other goodies.
Archangels on Diigo