The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Forgotten Archangel?

In my role as a deacon, I assisted at a vigil Mass yesterday evening, and am left with a quiet Sunday at home with dear Diane. Since I was not scheduled to preach, I have no homily to share with you, although I suppose you can, if you care to, read my homily from this same 4th Sunday of Advent, Year B, from December 2008. Here's the link: 4th Sunday of Advent.

Anyway, I thought I might touch on a subject that attracted my interest this past week. I came across the below video news clip from Rome Reports about a being whom I had encountered in my reading only rarely: the archangel Uriel. The video highlights a book on Uriel written by Fr. Marcello Stanzione. I believe the book is available only in Italian.

According to Fr. Stanzione, Jewish tradition, as well as the Coptic and some other Christian churches, include Uriel, along with Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, among the archangels. Uriel appears in apocryphal Gospels and, although not officially included among the archangels by the Catholic Church, he apparently is venerated by many Christians and Jews. There is, however, a strong Catholic connection to Uriel. In the 16th century a Sicilian priest, Antonio Lo Duca, experienced a vision of martyrs and angels, including Uriel, that encouraged him to recommend the construction of a church in Rome. The resulting church, sponsored by Pope Pius IV and designed by Michelangelo, is the Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels and Martyrs. I visited the church once a few years ago. Here's a photo of the church's exterior and another a painting in the church of the traditional seven archangels as mentioned in the Book of Tobit (Tobit 12:15).

Basilica of Saint Mary of the Angels and Martyrs

If you would like to know more, check out the church's website. Here's the page describing the basilica's unusual history: The Basilica of Saint Mary of The Angels and Martyrs

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