The Feast of the Dedication of the Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel, commonly known as Michaelmas, will be observed in an external celebration of Solemn High Mass at St. Stanislaus Church, State Street at Eld Street in New Haven, on Sunday, 3 October, at 2:00 pm. The Reverend Richard G. Cipolla, Pastor Emeritus of St. Mary’s Church, Norwalk, will be the celebrant and homilist, and the Revered Robert L. Turner, Pastor of St. Ambrose Parish, North Branford, will be the Deacon. The Schola Cantorum of the St. Gregory Society will sing the Gregorian chant and polyphony for the service.
The Hebrew name Michael means “Who is like unto God?” and recalls the battle in heaven between the prince of the heavenly host and the devil, a battle that began with Lucifer’s rebellion and continues down through the ages. In this tremendous struggle Michael and his angels, together with the Church and her saints, are Christ’s allies against Satan and his demonic cohorts. At the offertory of the Requiem Mass, the church prays that God’s Standard-bearer Michael may lead the departed Christian soul into heaven. The offertory at Michaelmas reminds us that St. Michael also presides over our worship, for he is the angel whom St. John saw in heaven near God’s altar, censer in hand, offering the fragrant incense of the prayers of the saints.
As the Church Militant faces these days the assault from within and without, it behooves Christians everywhere redouble their devotion to St. Michael and to invoke him daily in the prayer ordered by Pope Leo XIII to be said after every Low Mass:
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan, and all the evil spirits, who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Music for the liturgy will include Gregorian Mass IV (Cunctipotens genitor), motets by François Couperin (Factum est silentium) and Jean-Baptiste Lallouette (O Sacrum Convivium), the Gregorian chant proper of the Feast of St. Michael (Benedicite Dominum, omnes Angeli), and organ music by Guillaume Nivers and Jacques Boivin.