Our diocesan patrons are the Holy Angels, under whose patronage our Cathedral of the Holy Angels is named. As such, we should have a particular devotion to the Holy Angels. As we honor them, they continue to guide and protect us.
The feast of what was formerly called the “Holy Angels” falls on Oct. 2, and is now known as the memorial of the “Holy Guardian Angels” to make it more clear that Oct. 2 is a day to draw our focus to the guardian angels. Since they are our patrons, this day is a solemnity in the Diocese of Gary, calling for a greater degree of festivity and devotion in our celebration of the day. While our focus is on the Guardian Angels, we can still include all other angels in our devotion, especially since the Feast of the Archangels Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael is on Sept. 29. (Note: Our secondary patron is St. Matthias, celebrated on May 14 – more on him at another time).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives us some helpful theological information regarding the Angels:
Christ "with all his angels"
CCC 331 Christ is the center of the angelic world. They are his angels: "When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him. They belong to him because they were created through and for him: "for in him all things were created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through him and for him." They belong to him still more because he has made them messengers of his saving plan: "Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation?"
CCC 332/333 Angels have been present since creation and throughout the history of salvation From the Incarnation to the Ascension, the life of the Word incarnate is surrounded by the adoration and service of angels. When God "brings the firstborn into the world, he says: 'Let all God's angels worship him.'" Their song of praise at the birth of Christ has not ceased resounding in the Church's praise: "Glory to God in the highest!" They protect Jesus in his infancy, serve him in the desert, strengthen him in his agony in the garden, when he could have been saved by them from the hands of his enemies as Israel had been. Again, it is the angels who "evangelize" by proclaiming the Good News of Christ's Incarnation and Resurrection. They will be present at Christ's return, which they will announce, to serve at his judgement. …
CCC 336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.
In Matthew 18:10, we read some of the biblical basis for our belief in the guardian angels. Jesus explicitly notes that we have angels in heaven:
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father.”
In the Gospel of Luke, we hear of the angels leading us into paradise:
“When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham.” (Lk 16:22)
As we come closer to our Solemnity of the Holy Guardian Angels, let us remind ourselves of their constant presence in our lives. We can call upon our guardian angels to protect and guide us. We can also invoke the archangels, especially St. Michael, to protect us against the evil one. Fortified by a healthy devotion to the Holy Angels, we pray that we, like the poor man in the gospel, will be led by the angels into paradise.
Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Diocese of Gary