Let us celebrate the feast
of the glorious Captain of the angelic hosts
SAINT MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL !
Today is the commemoration of his apparition
Hic est Michael archangelus, princeps militiae angelorum:*
Cujus honor praestat beneficia populorum,
et oratio perducit ad regna coelorum, Alleluia.
This is Michael the Archangel, the chief of the angelic hosts:*
He repays by blessings the honour shown him by the faithful;
and his prayer leads us to the kingdom of heaven, alleluia.
That the blessed Archangel Michael has often appreared to men, is attested both by the authority of sacred Scripture, and by the ancient tradition of the Saints. Hence the memory of these apparitions is commemorated in divers places. As, heretofore, Michael was honoured by the Synagogue of the Jews as guardian and patron, so he now by the Church of God. A celebrated apparition of the Archangel took place under the pontificate of Gelasius I, in Apulia, on the top of Mount Gargano, at the foot of which lies the town of Siponto.
A bull, belonging to a man who lived on the mountain, having strayed from the herd, was found after much searching caught fast in the mouth of a cave. One of its pursuers shot an arrow, in order to rouse the animal by a wound; but the arrow rebounding, struck him that sent it. This circumstance excited so much fear in the bystanders, and in them that heard of it, that no one dared to go near the cave. The inhabitants of Siponto, therefore, consulted the bishop; who answered that in order to know God's will, they must spend three days in fasting and prayer.
At the end of three days, the Archangel Michael intimated to the bishop that the place was under his protection, and that what had occurred was an indication of his will that God should be worshipped there, in honour of himself and the angels. Whereupon, the bishop repaired to the cave together with his people. They found it to be shaped like a church, and began to use it for the celebration of divine service. Many miracles were afterwards wrought there. Not long after Pope Boniface dedicated a church in honour of St. Michael in the great Circus of Rome, on the third of the Kalends of October (29 September), the day on which the Church celebrates the memory of all angels. But today's feast is kept in commemoration of the apparition of Michael the Archangel.