Monte Gargano, Italy (492)
GREATER DOUBLE / WHITE
Today's feast commemorates an apparition of St. Michael the Archangel on Monte Gargano in southern Italy in the year 492.
In that year, a man named Gargan was pasturing his large herds in the countryside. One day a bull fled to the mountain, where at first it could not be found. When its refuge in a cave was discovered, an arrow was shot into the cave, but the arrow returned to wound the one who had sent it. Faced with so mysterious an occurrence, the persons concerned decided to consult the bishop of the region. He ordered three days of fasting and prayers. After three days, the Archangel Saint Michael appeared to the bishop and declared that the cavern where the bull had taken refuge was under his protection, and that God wanted it to be consecrated under his name and in honor of all the Holy Angels.
Accompanied by his clergy and people, the pontiff went to that cavern, which he found already disposed in the form of a church. The divine mysteries were celebrated there, and there arose in this same place a magnificent temple where the divine Power has wrought great miracles. To thank God’s adorable goodness for the protection of the holy Archangel, the effect of His merciful Providence, this feast day was instituted by the Church in his honor.
This mighty leader of the heavenly host, the vanquisher of Lucifer and his followers, has appeared on other occasions during the Christian ages; for example, it was he who summoned St. Joan of Arc from the care of her flocks to the command of armies. We may mention his apparition in Rome, where Saint Gregory the Great saw him in the air sheathing his sword, to signal the cessation of a pestilence and the appeasement of God’s wrath. Another apparition to Saint Ausbert, bishop of Avranches in France, led to the construction of Mont-Saint-Michel in the sea, a famous pilgrimage site. The angelic visitor has always been honored by the Church as her guardian under God, and as the protector of the faithful.
It is said of this special guardian and protector of the Church that, during the final persecution of Antichrist, he will powerfully defend it: “At that time shall Michael rise up, the great prince who protects the children of thy people.” (Dan. 12:1) Compare this text with Chapter 10 of the Apocalypse of Saint John.
Mass of DEDICATION OF SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL
O God, who wondrously directs the services of angels and men, grant that our lives on earth may be guarded by the angels who stand ever before Your face ministering to You in heaven. Through Our Lord . . .
O Lord, graciously accept the Sacrifice of praise we offer You. May it bring us closer to our salvation through the Angels' prayers of intercession. Through our Lord . . .
We rely on the prayers of the blessed Archangel Michael, O Lord, that the Sacrament that we have received upon our lips may always remain in our hearts. Through our Lord . . .