There is a misconception that our lives should be lived separately from the Church. On the contrary, the sacred should be interwoven so intricately into the tapestry and fabric of the every day, that it is indistinguishable from the other.


The Church celebrates the Liturgical Year and permeates our days with the celebrations that are meaningful to our Salvation History – These celebrations recall the promises of the Lord, the mercy of our God, and the whole mystery of Christ, bringing to life His Incarnation, His Nativity, His miracles and earthly ministry, His Passion, Death, and Resurrection, His Ascension, and the sending of the Advocate at Pentecost. These are woven together with the days honouring our Blessed Mother Mary, the life stories of Saints and the witness of Holy Men and Women who have lived out the Gospel values as a wondrous testimony of their life-songs in Christ.


On Sundays, the Day of the Lord, we celebrate the mystery of Christ’s crucifixion, and Resurrection. As Pope Francis has unpacked, the Eucharistic Celebration is a memorial of the very essence and the mystery of Christ. We are given a glimpse into the heavenly realms and the beatific vision, while becoming participants in the full redemption and victory over death and sin (Pope Francis, 2017). A “memorial” is this case, is not simply a remembering of events and things that have past, but the biblical understanding of a memorial tells us that the mystery of the Eucharistic Celebration brings together events that transcend the continuum of time and History, and makes real the things of the past and the future, in the present now and moment. The Mass, is the unfolding of the Lord’s passion, death, and resurrection exactly as they happened over 2000 years ago, and every time we attend the Eucharistic Celebration, we partake of the apex of the action of God’s salvation: Jesus Christ, making Himself bread that is broken for us, and filling our lives with his mercy and love, as it happened on the Cross. (Pope Francis, 2017). As Vatican Council II affirms, “As often as the sacrifice of the cross by which ‘Christ our Pasch is sacrificed’ is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried out”. (Pope Paul VI, 1964, 3).


In the Church, the word, “Feast” is an umbrella term that we use to describe all celebratory liturgical events. There are three general classes or categories of what these “feasts” are. These are the celebrations of solemnities, feast days, and memorials. Memorials can be further grouped under obligatory and optional. These Liturgies exist in order of importance, which in turn is reflected in what is present or absent in the Liturgy of the Eucharistic Celebration, and the Liturgy of the Hours.


Solemnities form the top tier and are so ordered for the most important dogmas or mysteries of our faith. With Easter at the utmost tier, these solemnities include the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mary the Mother of God, Pentecost, and some principal saints in history, such as the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.


Fr. Edward McNamara, professor of Liturgy at Regina Apostolorum University gives a detailed exegesis of what these celebrations entail:

“Solemnities have the same basic elements as a Sunday: three readings, prayer of the faithful, the Creed and the Gloria which is recited even when the solemnity occurs during Advent or Lent. It also has proper prayer formulas exclusive to the day: entrance antiphon, opening prayer, prayer over the gifts, Communion antiphon, and prayer after Communion. In most cases it also has a particular preface.

Some solemnities are also holy days of obligation, but these vary from country to country.

A solemnity is celebrated if it falls on a Sunday of ordinary time or Christmastide. But it is usually transferred to the following Monday if it falls on a Sunday of Advent, Lent or Easter, or during Holy Week or the Easter octave.

A feast honours a mystery or title of the Lord, of Our Lady, or of saints of particular importance (such as the apostles and Evangelists) and some of historical importance such as the deacon St. Lawrence.

The feast usually has some proper prayers but has only two readings plus the Gloria. Feasts of the Lord, such as the Transfiguration and Exaltation of the Holy Cross, unlike other feasts, are celebrated when they fall on a Sunday. On such occasions they have three readings, the Gloria and the Creed.

A memorial is usually of saints but may also celebrate some aspect of the Lord or of Mary. Examples include the optional memorial of the Holy Name of Jesus or the obligatory memorial of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

From the point of view of the liturgical elements there is no difference between the optional and obligatory memorial. The memorial has at least a proper opening prayer and may have proper readings suitable for the saint being celebrated. The readings of the day may be used, and the lectionary recommends against an excessive use of specific readings for the saints so as not to interrupt too much the continuous cycle of daily readings.

On the other hand, the specific readings should always be used for certain saints, above all those specifically mentioned in the readings themselves, such as Martha, Mary Magdalene and Barnabas.

During Lent and Advent from Dec. 17 to 24 memorials may be celebrated only as commemorations. That is, only the opening prayer of the saint is used and all the rest comes from the day.

Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day, is something of a special class that, without being a solemnity, still has precedence over a Sunday.

It is also important to note that the same celebration may have a different classification in various geographical areas, as some celebrations and saints are venerated more in one place than in another. For example, St. Benedict, an obligatory memorial in the universal calendar, is a feast in Europe since he is one of its patrons. But he rates a solemnity in the diocese and Abbey of Montecassino where he is buried.” (McNamara, 2008)


The 29th of September marks the Feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. While previously having different dates for their feasts, their feasts were unified after the reform of the liturgical calendar in 1969. Originally, the 29th of September marked the dedication of the Church of St. Michael in Rome. This church was built by Constantine.


Calendarium Romanum (The Roman Calendar) (Sacra Congregatio Rituum, 1969) expresses this viewpoint:

“Solemnities and feasts are rare and should be truly festive days, whereas a memorial is a simple remembrance of a saint on his spiritual birthday. Solemnities and feasts are held by way of exception; memorials are part of daily liturgical life.” (cf. Miller, 2021)


It is significant that that the archangels are allotted a Feast Day. Angels are spiritual creatures created by God for a particular purpose. Particularly significant to the Church of St. Michael as it celebrates its feast day, we celebrate how angels are instrumental in their deployment to communicate God’s message, be our protectors from evil and harm, and who guide us along life’s way.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church says,

“The existence of the spiritual, non-corporeal beings that Sacred Scripture usually calls “angels” is a truth of faith. The witness of Scripture is as clear as the unanimity of Tradition (CCC 328).

Angels are spiritual creatures who glorify God without ceasing and who serve his saving plans for other creatures: “The angels work together for the benefit of us all” (St. Thomas Aquinas, 1920, 114).

The angels surround Christ their Lord. They serve him especially in the accomplishment of his saving mission to men.

The Church venerates the angels who help her on her earthly pilgrimage and protect every human being (CCC, 350-352).”


Angels are real and frequently appear in Scripture, but only three of them are given proper names in Scripture. Michael appears in the vision of Daniel as the “great prince” who will contend with Israel’s enemies, and in the book of Revelation, he leads God’s armies in victory against the forces of evil. Gabriel appears in Daniel’s visions to announce God’s plan to deploy Michael. Gabriel also brings the news of the annunciation to Mary. Raphael is found in the Book of Tobit. He is deployed to journey with Tobiah and bind the demons. Other names of angels are non-canonical, dubious, and are unauthorised by the Church. We should not be using those names. Our Guardian Angels should not be named as well, as that right is only reserved for God.


The celebration of the Feast Day of the Archangels is indeed a cause of great joy. It reminds us of the mystery of God’s plan, and it exhorts us to call upon the speedy aid of these holy angels in our time of need. While we do not worship angels, as worship is reserved only, and only for God, we venerate and pay homage to the Holy Angels who are our invisible companions in our every day, and who punctuate our day with little nudges in the right direction, together with the constant reminder that we are loved and redeemed by God our Father.


Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael are the Patron Saints of:

Police Officers/First Responders/Law enforcers

Saint Gabriel is the Patron Saint of:


Saint Raphael is the Patron Saint of:

The Blind

(c.f. Franciscan Media, 2020)


By the Grace of God,

Brian Bartholomew Tan




Catechism of the Catholic Church. (n.d.) Libreria Editrice Vaticana.


Franciscan Media. (2020). Saints, Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. Franciscan Media. Retrieved September 22, 2022 from


McNamara, E. (2008). Solemnities, Feasts, Memorials. EWTN. Retrieved September 22, from


Miller, J. G. (2021). The Feast of the Archangels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael, “Michaelmas for short”. Catholic Culture. Retrieved September 22, 2022 from


Pope Francis. (2017). The Mass is a Memorial. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Catholic Culture. Retrieved September 22, 2022 from


Pope Paul VI. (1964). Lumen Gentium. [Dogmatic Constitution]. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved from


Sacra Congregatio Rituum. (1969). Calendarium Romanum. Libreria Editrice Vaticana


St. Thomas Aquinas. (1920). The Summa Theologiæ of St. Thomas Aquinas
(Second and Revised Edition), Trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province.