In response to the unprecedented sex abuse crisis in the U.S. Catholic Church, a growing number of American Bishops have re-instituted the prayer to St. Michael following masses in their dioceses.
It is popularly believed that Pope Leo XIII wrote the prayer after experiencing a vision or locution while attending Mass in the 1880s.
According to reports, Pope Leo stared motionless as horror and awe overcame his face. Father Domenico Pechenino recounted that the Holy Father was indeed experiencing “something grave and unusual.”
One story states that Leo overheard a conversation between Christ and Satan in which Satan bragged he could destroy the Church if given enough power and time.
After coming to his senses, the pope headed directly to his private office. A half hour later he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. It was a prayer to be recited by Catholics after every Low Mass for more than eight decades thereafter.
The shorter version of the prayer generally used after Mass is as follows:
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen
For unknown reasons, the St. Michael prayer, instituted in 1886, fell into disuse following the liturgical updates at the Second Vatican Council. However, in recent years, there has been a slight uptick in dioceses and parishes that have made it part of their liturgical ceremonies. Wisconsin Bishop Robert Morlino, for instance, re-instituted the prayer for his diocese in December 2017. Bishop Daniel Jenky of Peoria, Illinois requested that the prayer be said at masses in his diocese after the Obama administration implemented its coercive HHS abortion mandate in 2012.