Late September and early October are the times set aside for a special devotion to the angels; with some special feast days for the Archangels and Guardian Angels. Angels are all around us at all times, and I believe it is important to acknowledge this so we can be more intentional in thanking them and asking for their assistance.
Although there are seven Archangels mentioned in Sacred Scripture, only three are mentioned by name. The feast of the Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael was Sunday Sep 29, and was superseded by the Sunday Mass. The Memorial for the Guardian Angels was October 2nd, which was a Wednesday and coincided with our school Mass, also very appropriate as children often have a deeper connection with their angels. The word ‘angel’ comes from angelus, the Latin term for ‘messenger’. The angels have a three-fold office; to praise God, to act as his messengers and to watch over mortal men and women. These are found in Sacred Scripture in the Holy Holy Holy: ‘Let us praise the Lord whom the Angels praise, whom the Cherubim and Seraphim proclaim Holy, Holy, Holy’; ‘Behold I will send my angel, who shall go before thee, and keep thee in thy journey, and bring thee into the place that I have prepared. Take notice of him, and hear his voice’ (Exodus 23); and ‘See that you despise not one of these little ones: for I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father who is in heaven’. (Mt 18:10)
The seven Archangels are God’s envoys: Gabriel is ‘the strength of God’ and bears tidings of hope to Zachariah and to Mary, and tradition identifies him as the one bringing strength to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and he appeared to Joseph and to the shepherds after the birth of Christ; Michael is ‘God’s warrior’, and in art he is represented as an angelic warrior, fully armed with helmet, sword and shield, standing over the dragon. Michael is also known as the divine physician and is one of the angels called upon for healing. Raphael is known as ‘God has healed’ and is found in the Book of Tobit, and is the patron saint for travelers. He makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord.
In addition, there are classes of Angels we call upon at the conclusion of the preface, just before the Eucharistic prayer. We hear these often, but I am not sure it is common knowledge who we are praying with. Often the conclusion is very clear, ‘through him the host of Angels..., or In the Company of Angels and saints, we acclaim...There is another conclusion that claims: with the Angels and Archangels, with the Thrones and Dominions, with all the host and the Powers of heaven... And another: Through him the Angels praise...Dominions adore... Powers tremble before you. Heaven and the Virtues of heaven and the blessed Seraphim worship...
Thrones, Dominions, Powers, Seraphim, Cherubim and Virtues; these are all classes of Angels, they gather especially at the Holy sacrifice of the Mass, they intercede and take part in the holy exchange of gifts, bringing our gifts of bread and wine along with the offerings of our hearts to the altar in heaven and bear the body and blood of Jesus Christ to our altars on earth. We see this in a special way in the 1st Eucharistic prayer: In humble prayer we ask you, Almighty God, command these gifts be borne by the hand of your holy Angel to your altar on high... so we may receive the most holy Body and Blood of your Son...
May the Angels come to your assistance, protect you and guide you always.