During my adolescence, I was an avid babysitter. I enjoyed spending time and sharing meals with the children I babysat. We would play board games, build forts, and read books prior to bedtime.
A key part of the evening was always the bedtime routine. Knowing which book each child would request to read more than once or how to tuck the child’s covers just right were instructions that were given to make sure that bedtime was a success.
I would take good notes and try my best to remember all the steps. Since most of the families I watched were fellow parishioners at the church I attended, bedtime prayers were part of the routine as well.
Growing up my bedtime prayer consisted of praying the rote “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer and then listing off every person I could think of who I wanted God to bless. I was completely taken by surprise the first time I was asked to say a different prayer at a child’s bedtime.
This sweet boy I was watching one evening, politely asked me to pray the Guardian Angel prayer with him before bed and I was completely stumped. Thankfully, with his help, we stumbled through it and I knew I had my homework cut out for me the next time I was watching him and his siblings.
I took that opportunity to learn more about my own guardian angel then, and now as a parent, I always look forward to celebrating the Feast of the Guardian Angels on October 2nd.
Obviously, when asked to recite a prayer I had not ever heard before, I was embarrassed and quickly wanted to learn the Guardian Angel prayer. The Catholic Church has given us so many beautifully written prayers to help strengthen our relationship with God.
This short and simple prayer is one of the first prayers my husband and I introduced to our own children and we have our children recite it as part of their own bedtime prayers.
I have found it helpful when first teaching my kids prayers to print them out and have the prayer visible for children to see them. Whether on their nightstand, the bathroom mirror, or in a dedicated prayer space, this visual will help remind children to say the prayer that they are learning. You can find a printable of this prayer here.
Learning about Your Guardian Angel
Teaching children about the reality of their own guardian angel is important too. Angels are mentioned throughout scripture, most commonly in the archangel Gabriel, who appears to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38). Guardian angels are specifically discussed by Jesus when he says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father” (Matthew 18:10).
Saints have also utilized guardian angels as great intercessors in their lives. Saints like Saint Josemaría Escrivá, Padre Pio, and Saint John Vianney all frequently called upon their guardian angels in different times of need.
I use these examples to show my kids their guardian angel is someone they can call as well. I have even heard it said that you can ask your guardian angel for help when you are in conflict with another person. While in prayer, ask your guardian angel to handle the situation with the other person’s guardian angel and let the angels take care of it. This is a great plan when siblings are having a disagreement or if a child is having trouble with a friend.
When it comes to food for the Feast of Guardian Angels in our house we celebrate with a dinner that includes an angel hair pasta. You can make the meal as simple or as fancy as you want. My husband found a great recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
We just changed the pasta from orecchiette to angel hair. What is great about this particular pasta is that it compliments the seasonal changes as well. Pesto and zucchini are traditionally summer ingredients, but the meatballs and warm broth help the dish make the transition to fall.
Another modification that we made is how we cut the zucchini. Using a mandoline, my husband sliced the zucchini into strips so that it matched the angel hair noodles. Once the pasta was put together and set on the table, my kids could not even tell what was vegetables versus what was noodles. Maybe this trick will help you too, if getting your kids to eat their vegetables is a challenge.
For dessert there are a number of options you can serve. Most commonly we have either made or purchased an angel food cake and served it with fresh whipped cream and berries.
Traditionally, we have some kind of treat with blackberries on the Feast of the Archangels: Saint Michael, Gabriel and Raphael (September 29th) because of the legend that Lucifer fell into a blackberry bush when Saint Michael defeated him and that is why blackberries get sour later in the fall. So, on the Feast of Guardian Angels, we usually let the kids choose their favorite berry instead.
Another option for a treat is the polish cookie, Chrusciki, better known as “Angel Wings”. We are fortunate enough where we live to have a wonderful bakery that carries them. While these light and fluffy cookies are delicious, be prepared for a powdered sugar mess that follows eating them!
Enjoy the Feast of the Guardian Angels and remember to pray to your own guardian angel daily.