St. Michael

My family and I used to go to a church (Sts. Peter and Paul in Tacoma, WA for those interested lol) and at the end of mass, after the priest and alter servers had left the altar, the congregation would kneel and recite St. Michael the Archangel prayer.

Does anyone know where this originated, and why?

I liked saying the prayer after Mass, so even today at a different church (St. Aloysius in Buckley WA) my family and I will kneel after Mass and recite this prayer to ourselves. I was just curious on how this started.

thanks =]

This pious custom dates back to the turn of the century (19th to 20th). Pope Leo XIII xperienced a vision where Satan was given 100 years to menace the Church. When things started to look bleak, St. Michael appeared and did battle with Satan. The vision prompted Pope Leo to compose this prayer. He promulgated its distribution and noted that it should be prayed after Mass. As this was private revelation, we are not bound to it; however, it is a good and holy custom. At my parish, we say it before the Mass, after the Angelus.

Of course, I am saying this from memory and will welcome any correction.

I think it is a good custom =] I have heard of the story of how the prayer came along… but didn’t know about saying it after mass.

Do you know why the more modern churches don’t say it anymore? =\ I think it would be a nice thing to bring back.

The St. Michael recitation is new to me. When we were stationed in South Dakota, though, everyone stayed after Mass and prayed silently. I found out after a while that there was a strong custom to pray three Hail Marys after Mass for the repose of the soul of the next parishioner to die. I have carried that tradition with me and I think I’ll add the St. Michael prayer, too.:thumbsup:

Oh! This is a nice tradition too! I haven’t heard of it… do you know where it originated?

Hence, the Leonine prayers.

The obligation to say the Lenonine prayers, which included the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, was removed during the second Vatican Council. I’m not sure why.

Some churches do recite the prayers as a devotion.

From what I understand, some time in the 1990s, not certain when, Pope John Paul II brouight back the custom, although he did not make it mandatory. Given the state that the world is in right now, it may not be a bad idea. Howver, I would do mine privately so as to not impose myself on others who want to spend some time in silent prayer after Mass. Furthemore, in our parish, as I noted earlier, we include this in the prayers after the Rosary and the Angelus, but, right before Mass.

There are folks at the local chapel who will say it and try to force it on others, making these folks uncomfortable. I suggest tthen, to each his own.

I agree… to each his own. It isn’t mandatory (which would be nice though!!) but I like to say it. The church we go to only says the rosary before mass (something i think is wonderful to do)… it would be nice if they added the Angelus

I found part of a Regina Coeli address Pope John Paul the Great gave in 1994 where he alludes to the prayers and mentioned this one in particular. Is it what you’re thinking of?
"May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: ‘Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might’. The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St Michael the Archangel. Pope Leo XIII certainly had this picture in mind when, at the end of the last century, he brought in, throughout the Church, a special prayer to St Michael:

*‘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 the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.’ *

Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against the forces of darkness and against the evil spirits of this world" (Source).

'I remember well our very Irish pastor kneeling at th efoot of the altar after Mass, leading this prayer.

I was most surprised, however, when I read that a leader in a New Age group promoted it. Some of the other things he taught in this eclectic “religion” were, in my view, 'way off the wall.

We say the prayer after every Mass at my own parish.

Just briefly, what are called the Leonine Prayers were never part of the Missal, and were only said after Low Mass. Never after High Mass. Even in the case of Low Mass, there were certain times when they not done.

The prayers were originally introduced by Pius IX in 1859(?) for use within what were then still the Papal States. In 1884(?), PP Leo XIII made them worldwide, and added the St Michael Prayer a couple of years later. The actual intention of the prayers changed a few times over the years, until the prayers were finally suppressed in 1964/1965.

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer (of Human life international)
is asking that we invoke the divine intercession of
St. Michael the Archangel. He is our surest defense
against the wickedness and snares of the abortion demon.

Would be nice if in my parish we would recite the St. Michael prayer. But in reality, a quarter of the people make a “mad” dash for the doors after Mass,beating Father out.:eek: :mad:

Not to be a stick in the mud, but you do know that this story of Pope Leo XIII’s vision is a Catholic urban legend, huh?:frowning:

Pope St. Leo did have visions, which did inspire this prayer. It’s no urban legend.

"An article in the Roman journal Ephemerides Liturgicae (V. LXIX, pages 54-60) in 1955 gave an account in Latin and Italian of how the St. Michael prayer developed. Footnote nine of this account quotes an article in another Italian journal called La Settimana del Clero in 1947 by Fr. Domenico Pechenino who worked at the Vatican during the time of Leo XIII, in which he stated:

"I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant's head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.

“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, [St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle] beseeching God to send Satan back to hell.”

According to the same article in Ephemerides Liturgicae, Cardinal Giovanni Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano wrote in his Litteris Pastoralibus pro Quadragesima (Pastoral Letters for Lent) that “the sentence ‘The evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls’ has a historical explanation that was many times repeated by his private secretary, Monsignor Rinaldo Angeli. Leo XIII truly saw, in a vision, demonic spirits who were congregating on the Eternal City (Rome). The prayer that he asked all the Church to recite was the fruit of that experience. He would recite that prayer with strong, powerful voice: we heard it many a time in the Vatican Basilica. Leo XIII also personally wrote an exorcism that is included in the Roman Ritual. He recommended that bishops and priests read these exorcisms often in their dioceses and parishes. He himself would recite them often throughout the day.”

Remember, visions are not all that unusual of a spiritual experience. In fact, there’s been more saints who weren’t thought of as particularly visionary or miracleworking who turn out to have had remarkable experiences or done wonders, than those who don’t. (Though there’s plenty of saints who don’t, too.)

Catholic urban legends tend, rather, to elaborate on known visions and prophecies, and to insist that they either describe exactly what’s going on now or point directly to a specific sort of horrible doom which is currently most feared. If people are scared of UFOs, then the Fatima Third Secret is really about alien invasion. If people are scared of nukes, it’s about nuclear war. If people are scared of global warming, it’s about the earth shriveling up thanks to excessive release of carbons.

The next favorite is to claim that a known vision or prophecy wasn’t about what it’s generally claimed to have been about. Joan of Arc wasn’t the real Pucelle; the real Pucelle who’ll save France is X. The Third Secret wasn’t really about Pope John Paul II getting shot; it’s really all about flying dragons and the version released was a pathetic coverup.

Only the third favorite is making up prophecies and visions for some famous saint who, sadly, never seemed to have had any apocalyptic, mystical, obscure visions. This usually is done by claiming that of course St Y had visions, but they were covered up by the mean nasty bad people.

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