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Who are angels?

You should be aware that the word “angel” denotes a function rather than a nature. Those holy spirits of heaven have indeed always been spirits. They can only be called angels when they deliver some message. Moreover, those who deliver messages of lesser importance are called angels; and those who proclaim messages of supreme importance are called archangels.

Raphael means…God’s remedy, for when he touched Tobit’s eyes in order to cure him, he banished the darkness of his blindness. Thus, since he is to heal, he is rightly caused God‘s remedy.

Whenever some act of wondrous power must be performed, Michael is sent, so that his action and his name may make it clear that no one can do what God does by his superior power.

So too Gabriel, who is called God’s strength, was sent to Mary. He came to announce the One who appeared as a humble man to quell the cosmic powers. Thus God’s strength announced the coming of the Lord of the heavenly powers, mighty in battle.

- from a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great


What is in a name...
Notice that the word angel and the names of the great angels Michael, Gabriel and Raphaels all end in "el." That is a clue to the meaning of the words. Michael, who is like God, Raphael, God is my strength, and Raphael, God has healed.
Theophory refers to the practice of embedding the name of a god or a deity in, usually, a proper name.
names referring to El, a word meaning might, power and (a) god in general, and hence in Judaism,

Among the Biblical names that have developed this way are:
Referring to God (


Learn and Do

Read the article, Angels—Fact or Fiction.

Learn more about angels 
Angels, fact or fiction 
All sorts of resources about angels
coloring pages
Luke's Christmas worksheet
Abraham's visitors worksheet
Tabernacle in the wilderness worksheet
Friar Jack's information
Angel prayers
Feasts of angels
September 29, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael
    Michaelmas customs in old Ireland
    from fisheaters
    St Michael prayer
    Why September 29?
October 2, Guardian Angels
    angel paper craft instructions
Celebrating October/November
October Reflections