"...awaken and sharpen your realization of the invisible world about you,... foster a certain familiar acquaintance with the Angels, who are so constant in their solicitude for your salvation and holiness." Pope Pius XII
The word retreat literally means "withdrawal". When we participate in a silent retreat, we withdraw from our activities, from our environments, from our dealings with the world for a couple of days to be alone with God in prayer.
Pope Benedict XVI defines in an address a retreat as "a strong experience of God, awakened by listening to his Word, understood and welcomed in one's personal life, under the action of the Holy Spirit, which, in a climate of silence, prayer and by means of a spiritual guide, offer the capacity of discernment in order to purify the heart, convert one's life, follow Christ and fulfill one's own mission in the Church and in the world".
The Holy Father emphasized in a special way that a retreat should be "characterized by that climate of complete and profound silence which favors the personal and communitarian encounter with God and the contemplation of the Face of Christ. My Predecessors and I myself have returned to this point several times, and it can never be insisted upon enough."
All of us need time to be alone with God, in order to widen our souls for the streams of God's grace, so that we can live out our lives more perfectly according to God's will. God must become more and more the source and the goal of our daily lives. In fact, our entire Christian life must spring from an intimate union with Christ, and be ordered to this union. All we do should be by the strength of God and for the love of God. At silent retreats, God wishes to give us these special graces.
O glorious Guardian Angel of the United States, to whom God has entrusted the care of our beloved country, we honor you and thank you for the care and protection you have given to this great nation from the first moment of its inception.
O powerful Angel Guardian, whose watchful glance encompasses this vast land from shore to shore, we know that our sins have grieved our Lord and God and marred the beauty of our heritage. Lead us to a deep conversion, so that we may return to the embrace of His merciful love!
O Holy Angel, obtain for us through the intercession of the Queen of Heaven before the throne of God the graces we need to overcome the forces of evil so rampant in our beloved land. Help us, our God-given protector and friend, to respond wholeheartedly to the urgent pleas of the Mother of God at Fatima. Assist us to offer the prayers and sacrifices necessary to bring peace and goodness to our nation.
We want to make you known and loved throughout our land, so that docile to your inspirations we may know, love and serve our Lord more faithfully and so become once more "one Nation under God"! Amen.
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St. Gabriel Building Project
The project includes the National Opus Angelorum Center, a center of spiritual instruction, Adoration and prayer for priests for all who wish to come.
Although the Order and the Sisters of the Holy Cross have had a presence in the States since 1979 through Opus Angelorum missions and retreats, community life for the priests was first established at a parish in Detroit in 1995. A group of the Sisters came over to help the priests with the growing apostolate in 1999. The Order purchased a property in the diocese of Steubenville, and moved to temporary housing in 2015.
The Building Project
The St. Gabriel Building Project consists of 4 phases.
Phase 1 (already complete thanks to your generous help!) was the renovation of the future guest house and the addition of a small chapel. The Priests and Brothers currently live here until the monastery can be built.
Phase 2 (currently well underway!) entails the Sisters’ convent, with space for 12 Sisters and 2 guests, and all the necessary rooms for community life.
Phase 3 consists in the Monastery for the Priests and Brothers.
In phase 4 we plan to build a larger chapel along with the National Opus Angelorum Center.
Would you like to be a part of this project for the good of the Church and her priests? With the help of the holy Angels, together we can transform and renew our culture and society from within, beginning with each individual heart. More than ever, the Church and the world today need the Angels!
Click below to donate today! Please consider also monthly donations – a small amount every month adds up to a large, tax-deductible donation at the end of the year!
(Order of the Holy Cross, Inc and Opus Angelorum, Inc are 501(c)(3) tax exempt organizations.
All donations are tax-deductible.)
Global Opus Angelorum
The short answer to this most asked of all questions about the angels is simply "no." For the Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Sacraments of the Vatican stated in the document The Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy of 2001, that "the practice of assigning names to the holy angels should be discouraged, except in the cases of St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, and St. Michael, whose names are contained in Holy Scripture" (217).
We do well to reflect, then, that the term "Holy Guardian Angel" expresses very deeply our bond to the angel assigned to us by God for life. For just as there is only one woman and one man in this whole world who can respond to us when we say, "Mom" or "Dad", so too in all the choirs of angels, there is only one angel who can respond to us when we cry out, "Holy Guardian Angel, help me!"
That every baptized person has a Guardian Angel is clear from what St. Basil taught and the new Catechism of the Catholic Church reiterated, "Every one of the faithful has an angel standing at his side as educator and guide, directing his life" (cf. CCC 336). This passage does not state specifically that every human being, without exception, has a Guardian Angel. Nevertheless, in another passage, the Catechism stresses in no uncertain terms that "From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their [that is, the angels'] watchful care and intercession" (CCC 336).
In accord with this, the general teaching of theologians holds that not only every baptized person, but every human being has their own personal Guardian Angel which also teaches the recently published YOUCAT (Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church), approved by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in 2010, "Every person receives from God a Guardian Angel" (n. 55). This view is biblically based and founded on the words of Our Lord in the Gospels, where He states emphatically to His disciples, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I say to you that their angels in heaven always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven" (Mt 18:10). Moreover, St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the protection of the angels is a gift not only of grace, but also a gift to mankind in the order of nature. Finally, since each individual, based on their own free will, has a unique destiny, it is fitting that there be a one-on-one relationship with an angel. This same position was also taught by St. Gregory the Wonder Worker and St. Jerome, who held that every person has from birth their own special Guardian Angel.
St. Thomas Aquinas maintains that everyone receives a Guardian Angel at birth. Moreover, he states that the Guardian Angel of the mother guards her child while it is still in the womb. Other Fathers and Doctors of the Church, however, for example, St. Jerome and St. Basil the Great, believe that our Guardian Angel is assigned at baptism. St. Anselm, on the other hand, goes a step farther by stating that "every soul is committed to an angel when it is united with a body." In other words, he believes, along with some other saints and theologians, that everyone receives a Guardian Angel at conception. To sum up, then, there are three opinions about when our Guardian Angel may be assigned to us, namely, 1.) at conception, 2.) at birth, or 3.) or at baptism.
The fact, that every human person has a Guardian Angel excludes implicitly that we receive the Guardian Angel at baptism. It remains, then, a question open to speculation whether a human being receives the Guardian Angel at conception or birth. But since a person's life begins at the moment of conception, there is no reason for the angel to have to wait until the person is born. Considering the importance of prenatal care, it is reasonable to believe that the Guardian Angel would be want to be involved. It may also be true, that all benefit from the angelic assistance from the beginning of life according to the natural providence of God, and that in baptism a deeper supernatural bond with the holy angels arises.
In the early 1990’s my husband and I and our 7 children moved into a rental home quite far from where we had lived before. One day 4 of the children and myself were returning from an outing in our family station wagon.
We were traveling over the 2 large hills back home. As we were streaming down the second hill I stopped at the bottom to make the necessary left turn towards home. Very quickly my Guardian Angel said “Look in your rearview mirror.” I immediately looked in the mirror and saw a truck barreling down the hill.
If you have an inspiring Angel story, you would be willing to share, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Out of sight is out of mind” goes the saying. How often this is true with respect to our relationship with our Guardian Angel; we forget him because we do not see him. Guardian Angel stories serve as a tonic helping us cultivate a personal relationship with our Guardian Angel and bolster our confidence in him. Such stories do illustrate well how the Angels take interest in our personal lives and not infrequently do intervene tangibly in behalf of their wards.
In 1982 my husband was offered a job in southern Idaho. For work related reasons he went ahead of me, by a couple of weeks. He took our 11 year old son with him. I was left alone with our 10 and 7 year old sons and our newborn baby daughter, whom I was nursing at that time. I had chosen to nurse ‘only’, with no other type of supplemental feeding. I was attending a support group, and my feedings were very successful, so I didn’t feel the need of any substitutes, since my mother’s milk was fully sufficient for her at that young of an age. Since she was still an infant, I fed her regularly during the night as well.
Once, during my husband’s absence, I woke from a very intense nightmare in the middle of the night. I was one of those people afraid of being left alone at night time. So, it took all the grace God could give me to strengthen me through the time that my husband and I were apart. This particular night I was going to need even more grace since I was in no condition to nurse our sweet baby, because I was still under the influence of the frightening dream. So, I began to earnestly implore God to help me and protect me so that I would be able to nurse our precious daughter. The baby began waking up and I knew I couldn’t wait for the intensity of the effects of the dream to wear off. Trusting God for what I needed in order to care for her, I lifted her from the bassinet beside our bed and held her in my arms. As I sat propped up in bed and drew her closer to me, I was amazed to see (not literally physically, but with what I call “my spiritual eyes”) a large Angel wing coming from the right, as if the Angel was positioned behind me and wrapping us up with its protective wings. Then another wing proceeded to do the same thing as it came from my left side. Both our precious baby and I were enveloped in God’s amazing protection by his Holy Angel, given to us as an answer to my outcry for help. I felt peace and was then able to successfully nurse our baby with confidence and calm. ~Judy R.
I grew up praying to my Guardian Angel every night and I never “outgrew” this important practice. For my own family, I faithfully beseech my children’s and my husband’s Guardian Angels every day by praying the Guardian Angel prayer one time for each of them, “Angel of God, [family member’s name] guardian dear…”, inserting the family member’s name where it fits. A recent family experience confirmed for me the importance of this practice.
My son celebrated a major college milestone by going skydiving for the first time with some friends. Despite the company having 20 years of safely helping people experience this sport, my motherly concerns were in high gear. We spoke to him while on the way to Mass – and just before he boarded the plane – and everyone prayed to his Guardian Angel at Mass for his safety. Independently of this, his brother was also praying at Mass almost 300 miles from our location. The priest gave an excellent homily about us not having any idea when God will call us home…and yes, our son called us after Mass and began with, “Mom, I’m calling before you see this on the news.”
All of his friends made their jump, with my son being the last one to leave the plane (in fact, he was the last jump of the day). He came safely to earth and then turned to see the plane suddenly point straight downward and nose dive straight into the earth. The young pilot tragically died on impact and we grieve for him and his family. An investigation determined that the engine failed right after my son jumped from the plane. At that point, the pilot lost control and crashed.
We believe God and our son’s Guardian Angel intervened in saving our son and his friends. Interestingly enough, our other son was in a motorcycle accident one week prior to this event and walked away with only minor injuries. I asked both of my sons to please let their guardian angels have some rest! ~Donna J.
Living Out the Message of Fatima
“My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.” At Fatima, in the midst of the first “Great War”, Our Lady manifested anew her singular closeness and concern ...