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Friday, March 24, 2017
St. Gabriel the Archangel

Greater Double (1954 Calendar): March 24th

Today is the Feast of St. Gabriel the Archangel.  On feastdays in Lent, more usually the Mass of the Lenten feria is said with only a commemoration of the feast - unlike the other seasons in the Church's liturgical year. Today is also the day before the Annunciation - which commemorates the announcement to Mary that she would conceive and give birth to the Lord.  March 25th is the most important day in human history 3 times over!

The following is taken from Butler's Lives of the Saints for today:
BY a decree of the Congregation of Sacred Rites dated October 26, 1921, issued by command of Pope Benedict XV, it was directed that the feast of St Gabriel the Archangel should be kept in future as a greater double on March 24 throughout the Western church. 
As the question of the liturgical celebration of festivals in honour of the great archangels will be more naturally treated in connection with the older feast of St Michael on September 29, it will be sufficient here to point out that according to Daniel (ix 21) it was Gabriel who announced to the prophet the time of the coming of the Messiah, that it was he again who appeared to Zachary " standing on the right side of the altar of incense " (Luke i 10 and 19) to make known the future birth of the Precursor, and finally that it was he who as God's ambassador was sent to Mary at Nazareth (Luke i 26) to proclaim the mystery of the Incarnation.  
It was therefore very appropriate that Gabriel should be honoured on this day which immediately precedes the feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin. There is abundant archaeological evidence that the cultus of St Gabriel is in no sense a novelty.
An ancient chapel close beside the Appian Way, rescued from oblivion by Armellini, 
preserves the remains of a fresco in which the prominence given to the figure of the archangel, his name being written underneath, strongly suggests that he was at one time honoured in that chapel as principal patron. There are also many representations of Gabriel in the early Christian art both of East and West which make it plain that his connection with the sublime mystery of the Incarnation was remembered by the faithful in ages long anterior to the devotional revival of the thirteenth century.  
This messenger is the appropriate patron-saint of postal, telegraph and telephone workers. See the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, vol. xiii (1921), and the note to Michael the Archangel on September 29.
More Reading for Today: What are Angels? A Summary & Exposition on Angels for Catholics


O God, from among all the angels You chose the archangel Gabriel as the messenger of the mystery of Your Incarnation. May his intercession in heaven help us as we celebrate his feast on earth; who lives and rules with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.


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