St. Michael Prayer Makes a Comeback

by David Nussman  •  •  October 5, 2018   

US dioceses returning to old practice of reciting the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel after Mass

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DETROIT ( - Amid the ongoing crisis in the Catholic Church in America, dioceses across the country are turning to St. Michael the Archangel.

In the wake of the so-called "summer of shame" for the U.S. Catholic Church, many bishops are calling on parishes to recite the St. Michael Prayer after Mass.

For instance, Abp. Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas wrote a letter on Sept. 24 which approved the use of the prayer after Mass "in the parishes of the archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, at the discretion of the pastor."

According to LifeSiteNews' count, Abp. Naumann is the sixth U.S. prelate to encourage the practice in his diocese.

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Bishop David Zubik of the diocese of Pittsburgh requested a revival of the prayer in early September. A Sept. 11 tweet from the diocese said, "Bishop Zubik also asked the clergy to consider restoring the practice of reciting the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel after all Masses, a prayer that calls on Saint Michael to protect the faithful against all evil."

Meanwhile, Bp. Robert Morlino of Madison, Wisconsin encouraged the priests of his diocese to recite the St. Michael Prayer after Mass beginning on Dec. 31 of last year.

There are a few different English translations of the St. Michael Prayer in use in the Church, but one common translation reads:

Saint 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 heavenly hosts, by the power of God, cast into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Prior to the 1960s, the priest would lead the faithful in a series of prayers after Low Mass, including the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. Low Mass is a way of offering the traditional Mass where the priest does not chant anything and only two candles are lit.

Pope Leo XIII composed the St. Michael Prayer following a vision he had in the mid-1880s in which Satan appealed to Our Lord to give him a century with "more time and more power."

Saint Michael's name is from the Hebrew for "Who is like God?" This rhetorical question is St. Michael's battle cry against the demons.

In statues and icons, St. Michael the Archangel is traditionally portrayed as a soldier with wings, wearing armor and holding a sword (and sometimes a shield). Beneath his feet is the devil. Some portrayals have St. Michael with the sword in the air, poised to thrust the sword through the demon's skull.

If portrayed with a shield, some artists will inscribe on the shield the Latin phrase "Quis sicut Deus," meaning "Who's like God?" — a literal translation of St. Michael's name.

Much of this imagery is based on a passage from the Book of Revelation: "And there was a great battle in heaven, Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought and his angels: And they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven" (Revelation 12:7–9, Douay-Rheims).


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