Feastday: October 2
The Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels is a memorial of the Catholic Church officially observed on 2 October. In some places, the feast is observed on the first Sunday in September with the permission of the Vatican. Catholics set up altars in honor of guardian angels as early as the 4th Century, and local celebrations of a feast in honor of guardian angels go back to the 11th Century. The feast is also observed by some Anglo-Catholics within the Anglican Communion and most churches of the Continuing Anglican movement.
Devotion to the angels
is an ancient tradition which the Christian Church inherited from Judaism. It
began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition. The feast was first
kept by the Franciscan order in 1500. This feast, like many others, was local
before it was placed in the General Roman Calendar in 1607 by Pope Paul V. The
papal decree establishing the feast was cosigned by Robert Bellarmine, which has
led some scholars to speculate that the feast was created under the influence of
the Society of Jesus. It was originally ranked as a double, and is believed that
the new feast was intended to be a kind of supplement to the Feast of St.
Michael, since the Church honoured on that day (29 September) the memory of all
the angels as well as the memory of St. Michael. Clement X elevated it to the
rank of an obligatory double, and, finally, Leo XIII raised the feast to the
rank of a double major. Since 1976, it has been ranked an obligatory memorial.
The Feast of the
Guardian Angels was of seminal importance to Josemaría Escrivá, who considered
himself to have been inspired by God to found Opus Dei on October 2, 1928. The
significance of the day of his inspiration was evident to Escrivá, who believed
that it was a sign that the work of the order would be carried out under the
protection of angels.
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