Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael

27 September

The Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms that Angels do exist proclaiming that their existence is a ‘truth of Faith’. (CCC par 328) The word ‘angel’ is derived from the word ‘aggelos’ which means ‘messenger’ while St. Augustine describes angels as ‘ non-physical, personal spiritual beings created by God’ with the special mission of being messengers of God.

Scripture refers to the ‘mystic seven’  who stand before God surrounding ’the throne’ while identifying by name Michael, Gabriel and Raphael as Archangels, recognizing them as leaders entrusted with special duties by God as His messengers to chosen people to fulfil His plan of Salvation.
We tend to refer to them as ethereal, denying them a real existence, with a tendency not to connect with them as we do with other saints. The fact is that we do not understand and know all that there is about them, because they exist in a different dimension from us. An Archangel is created as an angel, created as a pure spirit, which means not having a human body. Being purely spiritual, not having a body like us, they do not have a birthdate or a date when they died. There are no male or female angels, so they do not marry and have a family!
Images of Archangels as it is with other angels, are depicted in symbols that attempt to portray their qualities. They are portrayed with wings to signify speed because not being constrained by space and time, they travel quickly. They are also described as being pure, white and bright representing the purity of heaven.
St Michael the Archangel stands for the meaning “Who is like God.” Emerging from the passages in Scripture the Christian Tradition attributes specific missions to St Michael as the protector from evil, following what is believed of what had been the “War of Heaven” where Michael the Archangel stood firm and strong against the ‘evil angels’ depicted in the image of a dragon, who had rebelled against the Supremacy of God. (Rev. 12, 7) He is represented as an ‘angelic warrior, armed with sword, helmet and shield.’ He stands for courage , strength and truth. He continues  to protect us, to keep us on the ’straight path’ away from all evil.

Gabriel the Archangel stands as the “Strength of God”. This Archangel features prominently in the Nativity narratives, predicting the birth of John the Baptist, announcing the Birth of Our Lord to the Virgin Mary (Lk 1, 26-38), to Joseph in his indecision ( Mt, 20-24) and proclaiming the Birth of Jesus to the shepherds.  Gabriel could also have been the angel offering support to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani and the one seated at the tomb giving the message of the Risen Christ to the women.
The name of the Archangel Raphael stands for “ God heals.” This Archangel features prominently in the Book of Tobit, being the angel who accompanied Tobiah on his journey, makes possible his marriage to Sarah and heals Tobit’s blindness. The angel who descended in the waters of the Pool of Bethesda, moving the water so that the person who went down first in the pool was healed, is associated with the Archangel Raphael, known for healing powers.

From a Children’s Bible read the passages narrating experiences of the Archangels or watch the following:

Encourage the children to talk about:

  • how they would have felt if they had the experience in the narrative
  • what they would have said and done

They might like the idea of drawing images of the Archangels, decorate them with stars and glitter and hang them in their room with colourful ribbons!

Talk to the children how we too, like the Archangels can be messengers of God’s Love, by sharing His Love with others because God loves everyone, even difficult people!

Discuss how we can achieve this at home, at school and in all situations by being kind, helpful, caring and considerate, using gentle, encouraging words and by being generous.

Family Prayer Time

  • Lead Prayers of Praise to God as the Archangels do in Heaven: Praise be to God, because He is great and our strength, because …. (let them give their suggestions)
  • The parting message of the Archangel Raphael to Tobit and Tobias was” Bless God every day, give him praise with song”
  • Sing with your children :Bible Songs Collection for Children Summer 2023 
  • Sing with your children :
  • Bible Songs Collection for Children Summer 2023

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.