Time to Bring Back St. Michael’s Prayer

In his 2009 Inaugural Address, President Obama praised the tremendous sacrifices of our Founding Fathers and our hard won freedoms saying, “Our Founding Fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, they drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.”  However, in moving forward aggressively with the HHS Mandate, it has become clear we are witnessing a U.S. President eroding those very freedoms he initially spoke so highly of.   In short, under the HHS mandate, the faithful must either follow the letter of the law in violation of their religious beliefs or face crippling financial consequences that could force them to close down or dramatically decrease their operations.       

Under the mandate, Catholic institutions, along with countless faithful private employers and non-profits, will be required to offer employee health plans that include free contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients regardless of religious objections.  Not only is the mandate a direct assault on our cherished First Amendment Rights, it is also in direct opposition to Catholic teachings which uphold the sanctity of human life from the moment of conception to natural death.  Sadly, instead of a mobilized vote in favor of religious freedom this past November – Obama again won the Catholic majority.  Faced with an additional four years under a President determined to gain nationwide HHS Mandate compliance, it is imperative that we, as Catholics, use every means at our disposal to defend our religious freedoms.

As the Church faces this unprecedented barrage of intolerance on American soil, I found a recent letter from the Reverend Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois particularly emboldening.  In a letter to all parishioners in his diocese, Bishop Jenky asked that the powerful St. Michael’s prayer be included in all General Intercessions during each Sunday Mass.  In his letter he writes, “The HHS Mandate is a bigoted and blatant attack on the First Amendment rights of every believing Catholic.  I ask that every parish, school, hospital, Newman Center, and religious house in this Diocese insert the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel into the Sunday General Intercessions just before their concluding prayer. It is God’s invincible Archangel who commands the heavenly hosts, and it is the enemies of God who will ultimately be defeated. This prayer should be announced as: A Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel for the Freedom of the Catholic Church in America.”

This got me thinking.  What if we reinstated this powerful prayer in every Catholic parish across America for this specific intention?  To what great effect might it have if prayed fervently at every Mass?  If we are truly going to step up and fight for religious freedom, then we must step up our prayer!

While the St. Michael’s prayer has been maintained in some US Catholic churches, it was widely discontinued in late 1960’s.  Yet, one only has to read the headlines to see that Satan certainly did not stop his doings in the 60’s!

The Saint Michael’s prayer, originally composed by Pope Leo XIII in 1884, was in response to a vision the Pope had in which he was shown an image of evil spirits trying to fulfill Satan’s boast of destroying our Lord’s Church within a certain century as they waged an attack against it.  Amid the tribulation, there appeared in the vision Saint Michael the Archangel, who cast Satan and all the evil spirits back into hell.  The Pope was so horrified by what he had seen, he felt compelled to help defend our faith in this world by composing the prayer to Saint Michael.  Pope Leo saw to it that the Saint Michael’s prayer was recited after every low Mass throughout the world.   In 1994, Blessed Pope John Paul II again urged the faithful to continue reciting the prayer specifically for the Church when he said, “although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world.”

It is my hope that Bishops across America will prayerfully consider joining Bishop Jenky in reinstating this short but powerful prayer to St. Michael in each of their diocese.  As the Catholic Church faces attacks on our religious freedoms, would it not be wise and particularly efficacious to restore, on a national level, this mighty clarion call to the Prince of Heavenly Hosts to defend us in battle?

Surely, as the assigned defender of Christians, he will not fail to come to the aid of Holy Church as he has done in the past.  While we also know that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church, for Christ promised to be with her until the end of time, we are still required to do our part in defending the faith.  Religious liberty is one of our most precious gifts.  Therefore, let us again widely call upon Saint Michael and ask for his powerful help in defending it.

Prior to the 1900’s, Swiss Cardinal Gaspard Mermillod was quoted as saying, “when the very foundation of society is shaken in consequence of having denied the rights of God, we must revive the veneration of St. Michael and with him raise the victorious cry: ‘Who is like unto God?’”  Similarly, Saint Francis de Sales wrote, “Veneration of St. Michael is the greatest remedy against despising the rights of God, against insubordination, skepticism, and infidelity” – vices which are perhaps more prevalent now than in any previous period of history. St. Michael proved his great strength and prowess when he won the heavenly battle against the devil, showing his profound loyalty to God.  As the assigned Guardian of the Church, would he do any less for us?

Time and again throughout history, this princely seraph and mighty spiritual warrior has provided powerful aid during wars and persecutions which threatened to destroy Christianity.  Therefore, may we earnestly seek to implore Saint Michael in all of our churches and in our own hearts to put an end to all that is currently assailing the church, not only here in America, but across the world.


St. 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.

Judy Keane


Judy Keane is a Catholic writer and a communications/marketing executive who resides in Washington, D.C. She holds an MBA in International Business and is the author of Single and Catholic, published by Sophia Institute Press.

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Clement_W

    Your are right Ms. Keane about the Prayer to St. Michael. Having gone through a lot of troubles in my life, the Lord led me to ask for an infilling of the Holy Spirit again because, even though I received the Sacrament of Confirmation in my mid-teens, I was unable to receive His Gift of Counsel. After I was led to Baptism of the Holy Spirit by a Priest, the sudden opening of my mind and senses was amazing. Since then, it has become much easier for me to perceive the the Spiritual Kingdom of the Lord of hosts with all His angelic host. Seeking the help of the Archangels and my own Guardian Angels daily has become a daily event for me since.

  • rosebud

    A major strategy in warfare is to demoralize the oppossing army by taking out their leader. The outcome is largely dependant on the quality & presence of leadership. We know how God has designed that much of our redemption be dependant on the maternal longing of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. Mainly, Heaven’s Peace Plan; Fatima 1917 which urges us to “make Reparation for outrages committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary” (console Mama).] It is taught that the Heavenly Hosts are subject to this maternal caring as well. Thus, does it not follow that access to these Angelic Powers is best attained through consoling Mama ? [Rejoice Queen Mother, your Son our God has gone into the depths of darkness & illumined it with the Victory of Divine Mercy. It has penetrated the hardness of our selfish vanity & softened our hearts into praise & thanks for God (who longs to share His Glorious Love with us).]

  • JMC

    God bless you, Rosebud; it’s good to know I’m not the only one promoting the Message of Fatima. Yes, the Rosary is the most powerful prayer there is; we should all be praying it daily, particularly for all the intentions of Our Lady of Fatima. In my opinion, though, the St. Michael’s prayer ranks a very close second. I have read that, during World War II it was requested that, since Satan is capable of possessing large groups of people as well as individuals, the Pope perform an exorcism of the Nazis. The request was denied, for reasons that I cannot now recall, but which I do remember were legitimate. It has long been my contention that, given the vehemence with which atheists react at the very mention of God, we are facing that same problem right now, in our own country. While a full-on exorcism can only be peformed by a specially trained priest, the prayer to St. Michael is actually classified as a “minor exorcism,” which can be performed by anyone simply by saying the prayer. I personally tend to say it after I complete the Rosary; I recommend that everyone do the same. This world needs all the help it can get!

  • Faustina

    My husband and I pray the St Michael prayer after every Mass. I also often pray this prayer for young people.

  • Jini

    All our parishes in my area in Maryland have been saying the St. Michael prayer after every mass for at least a year now. It is so healing! Hope every one gets on this bandwagon!

  • Laura

    If he had only been with the children today, at the elementary school with the children….

  • nancy

    Bishop Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois asked that the St. Michael prayer be said after all Masses in the diocese. Our parish has done this for several months.

  • longer version

    Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

    One day, after celebrating Mass, the aged Pope
    Leo XIII was in conference with the Cardinals when suddenly he sank to the
    floor in a deep swoon. Physicians who hastened to his side could find no
    trace of his pulse and feared that he had expired. However, after a short
    interval the Holy Father regained consciousness and exclaimed with great
    emotion: “Oh, what a horrible picture I have been permitted to

    He had been shown a vision of evil spirits who had been released from Hell
    and their efforts to destroy the Church. But in the midst of the horror the
    archangel St. Michael appeared and cast Satan and his legions into the abyss
    of hell. Soon afterwards Pope Leo XIII composed the following prayer to Saint
    Michael, which is the original version:

    Original – Prayer to St. Michael

    “O Glorious Prince of the heavenly
    host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible
    warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the
    rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid
    of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and
    likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan.

    “Fight this day the battle of the
    Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader
    of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to
    resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel,
    ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole
    world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy
    and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he
    wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in
    order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and
    cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory.
    This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice
    on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety,
    of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and

    “These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness
    the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on
    her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy
    Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they
    have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous
    design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.

    “Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost
    spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee
    as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense
    against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of
    men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace
    that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer
    be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in
    the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight
    of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the
    devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no
    longer seduce the nations. Amen.

    V. Behold the Cross of the Lord;
    be scattered ye hostile powers.

    R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered the root of David.

    V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.

    R. As we have hoped in Thee.

    V. O Lord, hear my prayer.

    R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

    Let us pray.

    O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon
    Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the
    intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the
    glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against
    Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the
    injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.”

    Roman Raccolta, July 23, 1898, supplement approved July
    31, 1902,

    London: Burnes, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1935, 12th edition.

    Short Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

    The well-known short version of this prayer follows
    in English and Latin. The Pope ordered this prayer to be recited daily after
    Low Mass in all the churches throughout the Catholic world. However this
    practice was almost completely swept away in the 1960s by liturgical changes
    made in the wake of Vatican Council II.

    Saint Michael the Archangel,
    defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the
    devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the
    Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil
    spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

    Sancte Michael Archangele,
    defende nos in praelio. Contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto
    praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur. Tuque princeps
    militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem
    animarum pervagantur in mundo divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.