The Feast of Michael the Archangel will be celebrated this coming Thursday, September 29, at 7:00 PM. Liturgical music for the Solemn High Mass will include Palestrina's Missa Quarta L 'homme arme' and Richard Dering's splendid motet Factum est silentium in caelo (There was silence in heaven when the dragon waged war with the Archangel Michael).
Michael is one of the three angels, with Gabriel and Raphael, liturgically venerated by the Church. He appears twice in the Old Testament (Dan. 10:13ff.; 12:1, as helper of the chosen people) and twice in the New Testament (Jude v. 9, where he disputes with the devil over Moses' body; and Rev. 12:7-9, where he and his angels fought the dragon and hurled him and his followers from heaven). According to St. Basil and other Greek Fathers, St. Michael is called "archangel" because he is the prince of the other angels. The feast day on September 29 (Michaelmas Day) has been celebrated since the sixth century to honor the dedication of a basilica in his memory on the Salerian Way in Rome. His feast was celebrated during the Middle Ages as a holy day of obligation. In 1970, after the Second Vatican Council, the feast was joined with those of Gabriel and Raphael on September 29. However, it is still retained exclusively for St. Michael in the Dominican Rite.