The archangels are celebrated on one day only since the last reform of the liturgical calendar. Gabriel and Raphael used to have their independent feast days on March 24 and October 24 until 1969, when they were merged with saint Michael’s day (September 29). This feast day still focusses on the fight of the angels against the powers of evil and also on the protective function of the angels:
O God, who dispose in marvelous order ministries both angelic and human, graciously grant that our life on earth may be defended by those who watch over us as they minister to you perpetually in heavenRoman Missal, opening prayer
Christian tradition considers the archangels as a privileged group among God’s messengers.
- Michael (Who is like God?); invoked as the protector of all people against temptations
- Gabriel (Strength of God); known for announcing the birth of John the Baptist and of Christ
- Raphael (Medicine of God); cared for Tobias on his journey and is invoked as a protector of people on their pilgrimage through life
Michael was extremely popular in Italy and many churches were dedicated to him as early as in the 5th century. An apparition of Michael on Mount Gargano in Southern Italy (May 8, 492) contributed to the fast spreading of his veneration. This event used to be remembered earlier by a Feast of the Apparition of the Holy Archangel Michael on May 8.