September 29 is the Feast of the Archangels: Sts. Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. These angels are all found in Scripture and in the Sacred Tradition of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms the existence of beings we call angels, as  “a truth of faith.”  They are purely spiritual creatures with intelligence and will and their purpose is to be servants and messengers of God. (CCC 328 – 330) The three archangels are the only named angels and they each have a unique mission and purpose.

The window picturing St. Michael is to the left of the Holy Trinity Altar dedicated to those who served in the armed services. Michael is the Prince of the Heavenly Host who leads the angels in battle against the devil, casting him out of heaven. (Rev 12:7-9) In the window, Michael is depicted as a warrior, casting the devil into hell. He is dressed in armor and his cloak is red, perhaps suggesting that the final victory over the devil will be obtained by the Passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. There is a cross on Michael’s belt. Above his head is the hand of God, extended in the gesture of blessing with rays of light falling upon his head. He is fulfilling his role in God’s plan for our salvation. Michael’s foot is upon Satan and his spear prevents him from rising.

The scene is apocalyptic, patterned on the Book of Revelation. The devil is engulfed in flames and smoke billows up around Michael. The stars seem to be falling from the sky and the angels with swords behind him represent the heavenly host supporting him in this battle. At the bottom of the window is a sword, also suggesting the battle against the devil and a scale, a symbol of God’s justice. The shield on the right displays a fleur de lis, a symbol of the Trinity and the crown in the center suggests the kingship of Jesus, for they are Christ’s angels, serving Him. (CCC 331)

Michael does battle against the devil for us today and the Church considers him the protector of God’s people. Michael means “who is like God” or “gift from God”.

The Angel Gabriel is pictured in the scene of the Annunciation in the top panes of the God the Father rose window. Gabriel means “God is my strength”. Gabriel’s role is to be a messenger of God’s word. He is shown announcing to Mary that she will be the mother of the Savior. He is dressed in green, with a halo of green, a color symbolizing hope. The power of his message is suggested by the movement of his hair and his wings. Behind him is a star, a symbol of Jesus, the morning star, and he is holding a lily, a symbol of purity and his attribute.

The hand of God the Father is in the center of this rose window, again raised in a gesture of blessing. Beside the hand is an angel in adoration, reminding us that the angels are always present to do the will of God as his servants.

Raphael is not pictured in the windows. His name means “God has healed” and in the book of Tobit he accompanies Tobias on a journey to obtain healing for his father’s blindness and on the way also heals Tobias’s bride.

As we reflect on these images of the Archangels in our church may we remember that they, and all the angels, are present with us every day. We can pray to them in our need for help when we are tempted or when we need God’s strength or healing. They do battle against the powers of evil for us when we feel helpless. As we seek their intercession and help, may we become more aware of their presence in our lives.


Catholic Church. (1994). Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana.