In 1884, Pope Leo XIII, having just celebrated Mass, had a terrifying vision in which he saw Satan approach the throne of God and claimed that, given a century, he could destroy the Church. He was also given a preview of the horrors of the twentieth century which would include two great wars and multiple smaller wars, bloodshed, genocide, and large-scale apostasy from the Faith. In response to these visions, he composed a prayer invoking the protection and intercession of St. Michael the Archangel. The Pope asked that (the shorter version of) this prayer be prayed, along with three Hail Marys and the Hail Holy Queen, after the celebration of every Low Mass, praying for protection of the Church. Later these prayers were also prayed for the conversion of Russia. In the wake of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, many parishes dropped the public (vocal) recitation of these prayers, though many of the Faithful continued to pray them privately as part of their thanksgiving after Mass. About two years ago, Pope Francis, recognizing the many spiritual battles evident within the Church and beyond, asked the Faithful to regularly pray the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. It has been the custom at St. James to pray this prayer, along with several others, following every Mass.
Prayer is always a good thing, and there are a lot of different types of prayer including public liturgical prayer (Mass, Liturgy of the Hours, etc.), devotional prayer (Rosary, Chaplet of Divine Mercy), and mental prayer (including Adoration). The addition of devotional prayers immediately after Mass can help to unite us in praying and acknowledging the role of angels and saints in the Mass and in the life of Discipleship. However, this practice can lose its impact, when more and more prayers - all good - are added and one is at a loss as to where to stop.
Many years ago, Monsignor William Blacet, a native of St. Joseph and a beloved priest of our diocese, composed An Election Prayer to Mary which beautifully expresses both a filial trust and a responsible citizenship and which would be appropriate for us to pray in the coming weeks, leading up to a most crucial general election in November.
In the interest of focusing on the urgency of the upcoming election, while streamlining our post-Mass devotions, beginning this weekend (September 19-20), we will pray this election prayer, followed only by the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. You are always welcome to incorporate the other prayers into your private thanksgiving after Mass.