Feast of the Guardian Angels

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Feast of the Guardian Angels
Ángel de la Guarda.jpg
Ángel de la Guarda
Observed by Catholic Church
Date 2 October
Next time 2 October 2015 (2015-10-02)
Frequency annual

The Feast of the Guardian Angels is a feast 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.[1] 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.[2] It began to develop with the birth of the monastic tradition.[3] The feast was first kept by the Franciscan order in 1500.[4] However, it was not placed in the General Roman Calendar until 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.[5] It was originally ranked as a double. 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.[6] Since 1976, it has been ranked an obligatory memorial.[7]

On October 2, 1795, Pius VI granted a partial indulgence for making the Devotions to our Guardian Angels and Patron Saints, as well as a plenary indulgence on the actual feast day to those who make the devotion twice a day for an entire year. The Devotion reads: "O Angel of God, to whose holy care I am committed by the supernal clemency, enlighten, protect, defend, and govern me. Amen."[8]

John XXIII wrote a Meditation for the Feast of the Guardian Angels, which reads, in part: "We must remember how admirable was the intention of divine Providence in entrusting to the angels the mission of watching over all mankind, and over individual human beings, lest they should fall victims to the grave dangers which they encounter."[9]

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.[10] Escrivá dated his discovery of "spiritual childhood," a notion which is, according to John Coverdale, "the foundation of the spirit of Opus Dei," to October 2, 1931.[11]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Pohle, Joseph; Preuss, Arthur (1916). God: the author of nature and the supernatural (De Deo creante et elevante) : a dogmatic treatise. Herder. p. 334. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  2. ^ Barberi, Pietro. "Guardian Angels a Reason for Gratitude", Zenit, October 2, 2012
  3. ^ Foley O.F.M., Leonard. "Feast of the Guardian Angels", Saint of the Day: Lives, Lessons and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media
  4. ^ Franciscan annals. The Friary. 1885. p. 289. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  5. ^ Marshall, Peter; Walsham, Alexandra (2006). Angels in the early modern world. Cambridge University Press. pp. 192–3. ISBN 978-0-521-84332-4. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  6. ^ Gilmartin, Thomas. "Feast of Guardian Angels." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910. 1 Jan. 2015
  7. ^ Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours. Catholic Book Publishing Corp. 1985. ISBN 978-0-89942-407-1. 
  8. ^ Blakeney, Richard Paul (1851). A manual of Romish controversy: a complete refutation of the Creed of pope Pius iv. p. 186. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Geiger, John (7 September 2010). The Third Man Factor: Surviving the Impossible. Weinstein Books. p. 72. ISBN 978-1-60286-129-9. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  10. ^ Berglar, Peter (1994). Opus Dei: life and work of its founder, Josemaría Escrivá. Scepter Publishers. p. 42. ISBN 978-0-933932-65-4. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Coverdale, John F. (September 2002). Uncommon faith: the early years of Opus Dei, 1928-1943. Scepter Publishers. p. 95. ISBN 978-1-889334-74-5. Retrieved 3 October 2011. [dead link]