Talofofo parish celebrates  St. Michael the Archangel

By Anne Marie Rodriguez
Umatuna Si Yu’os

On Sept. 23, 2017, the San Miguel Catholic Church in Talofofo celebrated the feast day of the archangels with Archbishop Michael Byrnes as the presider and parish pastor Father Felixberto C. Leon Guerrero.

The festal celebration opened with the familiar Chamorro hymn, Katoliku. Archbishops Byrnes, opening his homily on the archangels, said every angel that has a name that means something.

“The name means what the angel does,” said the archbishop. Raphael represents the healing of God, while Gabriel is the strength of God.

Making a distinction with the archangel Michael, the archbishop breaks down the Hebrew name and translation for Michael, which is “Mikha’el.”

“’Mi-’ is ‘who,’ ‘Ka-,’ ‘is like,’ ‘El’ is ‘God… ‘Who is like God?’” explained the archbishop. “We know the answer. There’s only one.”

Just as the Blessed Mother always points the Jesus, the archbishop remarked, so, too, does Saint Michael the archangel.

“We live fully immersed in this world, but yet our destiny lies somewhere else … Our destiny—here and now—is eternal life.

“We are called to live the heavenly existence here. Not as angels, not as disembodied spirits… Even in the resurrection, we will have bodies because you can’t be a human without a body.”

Archbishop Byrnes continued, “There’s only one who lived it perfectly—apart from the Blessed Mother, of course—and that’s Jesus.”

In honor of the celebration of the archangels, the archbishop stated, “Our celebration of the angels today is a way of aspiration. It’s a way of acknowledging our longing for the resurrection—our longing for that day where flesh and spirit will be in harmony…

“We won’t be angels but that process of bringing into alignment our fleshly desires with our spiritual desires begins here.”

The archbishop noted that this was the reason for receiving the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Archbishop also spoke of the purpose of each of the angels and said that Gabriel is “to remind us of the strength of God. We don’t walk by our own strength, we walk by the strength of faith.

“Raphael, the healing of God, because we get wounded in this battle, don’t we? … We get wounded. We sin, we fall, we fail, we suffer the sins of others.

“We need the healing of God and Raphael assures us of that.”

Wrapping up his brief, but powerful homily, Archbishop Byrnes said, “More importantly, we need the one who is like God, the one who Michael always points us to.

“We need Jesus. We need daily conversation with Jesus. We need Jesus in the Sacrament of the Altar.

“We need Jesus to be the one, to be the bridge between heaven and earth, that our struggle on earth will lead us, eventually, to heaven.”

The celebration concluded with the traditional procession in honor of San Miguel and Na’ Taotao Tumåno’ at the Talofofo parish’s social hall.