Who is St. Raphael?

Father Tim tells the story of the three archangels during the Children's Mass on September 29, the feast of St. Raphael. The feast day was originally October 24 but was changed so it could be celebrated with St. Michael and St. Gabriel.
St. Raphael is one of the seven archangels who stand before the throne of God. He is the patron of travelers. His feast day is September 29. Most of the story of St. Raphael is found in the Book of Tobit.

God sent St. Raphael to help Tobit, Tobiah and Sarah.

Tobit was a wealthy and devout Israelite. He was living among the captives deported to Nineveh from Israel in 721 B.C. He had had many difficulties and was blind. He prayed to God to let him die. 

Tobiah was his son. Tobit sent him to the city of Media to recover a large sum of money.  Nineveh was in Assyria (where Iraq is today) and Media was in the Median Empire (where Iran is today).

Sarah was a young woman who lived in Media. She had had seven bridegrooms, all of whom died on their wedding nights. She also prayed for death.

God heard the prayers of both Tobit and Sarah and sent the archangel Raphael to help them.

Raphael, disguised as a man, served as a guide for Tobiah to Media. Tobiah was attacked by a great fish as he bathed. Raphael told Tobiah to seize it. He removed the gall, heart and lungs because they made useful medicines.

Later, Tobiah married Sarah and used the fish's heart and liver to drive the evil spirit Asmodeus from the bridal chamber.

Tobiah returned to Nineveh with his new bride and his father's money. He rubbed the fish's gall into his father's eyes and Tobit regained his sight. Raphael revealed himself and was credited with Tobit's seeing the light of heaven and all the other good things that had happened.

Raphael's name means "God heals" in Hebrew. Biblical scholars believe one of the angels referred to in Revelation is Raphael. Raphael is considered the patron of the blind, of matchmakers and of physicians as well as travelers.

Information from Catholic Online, New American Bible and newadvent.org was used in this report.

Photo: The eighth grade class provided a flier at the Children's Mass with Prayers to St. Raphael. Click on the flier above to enlarge it.

Pat McDonald, who teaches first grade at St. Raphael Catholic School, and art teacher Eileen Walsh teamed up with kindergarten teacher Sonia Antunes to create this angel board depicting St. Gabriel, St. Michael and St. Raphael. Students had their pictures taken by Suzanne Zylman, the computer teacher and Yearbook sponsor. In this photo, Pat Gulliver's granddaughter Sienna Pringle, teacher Eileen Orsi and school parent Jackie Margetis tried the angel board on for size. | Photos by Jane Winstead
St. Raphael Novena
(should be said for nine consecutive days)

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael,
great prince of the heavenly court,
you are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace,
You are a guide of those who journe by land or sea or air,
consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners.
I beg of you, St. Raphael, assist me in all my needs
and in all the sufferings of this life,
as you once helped the young Tobias on his travels.

Because you are the medicine of God, I humbly pray for you to
heal the many infirmities of my soul
and the ills that afflict my body.

I especially ask of you the favor
(pause to make your request)