Religion in Poggioreale: Saint Michael the Archangel

Saint Michael the Archangel

Feast days May 8 and September 29

The Prophet Daniel described him: dressed in white linen with a golden sash at his waist, his body almost crystalline, his face bright as lightning, his eyes like two burning lamps, his arms the color of incandescent bronze, his voice almost like thunder.

Here we have a very beautiful statue of this Archangel in cartone romano. Our people feel a strong devotion for the Archangel, invoking his name for help against the devil. Pope Leo XIII added a special prayer to the rosary of the Holy Mass, invoking him as the prince of the Heavenly Host. He is the first of the very noble chorus of the Archangels, who are before the throne of God, whence it is said the great Prince was admitted for his faith in the beatific vision of the Most Holy Trinity and promoted with the greatest of gifts to that sublime post of honor and of powers from whence Lucifer had fallen which, according to the thought of the Holy Fathers, was the most eminent of tire Angels in attributes and privileges, the masterpiece of the Almighty creator.

Saint Michael is defined “the Archangel of the Most Holy Sacrament” and is invoked in the litanies: Judge of souls.

Pitre reports that:

in the popular tradition. Saint Michael is even more beautiful for having the most vigorous and noble form imaginable, made even more beautiful by his garb of a soldier of God. He is portrayed with a sword in one hand, scales in the other, a demon under his feet, and He in the act of weighing souls according to their good and evil deeds.

How full of faith are these verses with which his protection is invoked!

Arcangilu Micheli, dunami aiutu,
Caputanu di lu celu avantaggiatu,
Tu ti ‘nni vai di biancu vistutu,
Comu ti visti Diu nun t’hai spugghiatu;

Chi Tu, purtannu l’ermu, spata e scutu,
Trema lu ‘nfernu chi ti vidi armatu;
Pigghiati st’arma ch’mmai firutu,
Portala, avanti a Diu chi l’ha criatu.

Archangel Michael, help me
Captain of the beneficial heavens,
You go about dressed in white,
As God last saw you, you have remained;

That you, dressed in helmet, sword, and shield,
Brings tremors to Hell as they see you are armed;
Take my soul which has never been wounded,
Take it before God who created it.

(Translation: Annette Chiappetta Rovello).

The Priest, upon the last breath of a dying person, announces: “May Saint Michael the Archangel accompany you, He who merited the title of Prince of the Heavenly Host.

On September 29, the Church, invokes him: “Come Saint Michael He whom God has given souls so that they be accompanied to Heaven.”167

Background on Saint Michael the Archangel

(Source: Catholic Online Saints and Angels Directory)

Patron saint of grocers, soldiers, doctors, mariners, paratroopers, police, and sickness.

Saint Michael the Archangel isn’t a saint, but rather he is an angel, and the leader of all angels and of the army of God. This is what the title “Archangel” means, that he is above all the others in rank.

St. Michael has four main responsibilities or offices, as we know from scripture and Christian tradition.

The first is to combat Satan. The second is to escort the faithful to heaven at their hour of death. The third is to be a champion of all Christians, and the Church itself. And the fourth is to call men from life on Earth to their heavenly judgment. Very little is known about St Michael other than what we know from scriptures, which themselves are sparse.

In Daniel, St. Michael is mentioned twice. The first time as one who helped Daniel, and the second time he is mentioned with regard to the end times of the world when he will stand for the “children of thy people.”

His next mention comes in the Epistle of St. Jude, where St. Michael is said to guard the tombs of Moses and Eve and has contended with Satan over the body of Moses.

The final mention is in Revelation, where St. Michael and his angels, do battle with the dragon.

There are other scriptures where St. Michael is implied, but not mentioned by name, such as the angel; who defends the gate to Paradise, who defends against Balaam, and “who routed the army of Sennacherib.”

Today, St. Michel is invoked for protection, especially from lethal enemies. He is also the patron of soldiers, police and doctors.

[This webpage is excerpted from the book: “The History of Poggioreale, Sicily – From 1640 to 1956.” Originally written in Italian by: Canonico Dottore Francesco Aloisio in 1956. Adapted and translated by: Dr. Jeremiah P. Spence, Ph.D. of Austin, Texas. 5th Edition. International Order of Genealogists Publishing. Ireland. 2019. ISBN: 9781072403371. The book can be purchased online at: https://www.amazon.com/History-Poggioreale-Sicily-1640-1956/dp/1072403374/ ]