St Michael the Archangel is the patron of our parish

His name, in Hebrew Micha’el, in Latin Quis ut Deus, is also our parish motto “Who is like God”. It is an interesting motto because the phrase is a question, a description and a challenge.

ImageSt Michael the Archangel is the patron of our parish

His name, in Hebrew Micha’el, in Latin Quis ut Deus, is also our parish motto “Who is like God”. It is an interesting motto because the phrase is a question, a description and a challenge.

Michael in scripture (Daniel 10:13; Daniel 12; Apocalypse 12:7) is the head of the heavenly array of angels who are faithful to God, who stand before God in worship and who are always ready to intervene for good against evil. The word angel means messenger and angels are best understood as messengers or manifestations of aspects of the mystery of God. Michael’s particular role is to manifest God’s righteousness, strength and power particularly in moment of conflict or difficulty.

Hence Christian tradition assigns St. Michael four roles:

  • to resist and overcome evil,
  • to rescue faithful Christians at the point of death,
  • to champion God’s people in the conflicts and struggles of life
  • to bring souls to judgment.

Our parish representations of Michael, both the statue over the main entrance and the carved wooden statue in the sanctuary area, depict him in the first of these roles - confronting and defeating evil represented by a horned dragon.

The sanctuary statue, a gift of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd at Abbotsford and originally from France, depicts Michael as a muscular young man slaying the dragon and pointing at the same moment to the source of his strength, God.

As well as contending with and overcoming evil many other icons and images show him at the head of an heavenly army, or holding a sword or scales in which people are being weighed, representing the moment of judgement.

St Michael is patron saint of the Church, of soldiers and policemen and of people at the point of death.

An Ashburton parish tradition holds that our parish is named for St Michael because one of the first priests to work in the Glen Iris/Ashburton district was the young Salesian priest, Fr Michael Maiocco.