When someone dies, we often hear expressions such as “heaven gained another angel” or
“Grandma received her wings.” When people die, do they become angels?

Simply put, No.

Although this sentiment comes from a sincere place of love, and a desire to remember and honor
someone who has passed away, it is flawed theology. Angels do not become humans, and
humans do not become angels. This is an important truth concerning God’s order of creation.
God created all things, visible and invisible, and everything has its own nature, purpose, and role
in salvation.

People who die and go to Heaven actually become even greater than the angels! If we make it to
heaven, we will join the angels there, but we will join them as humans and as saints. We are
called to be saints! Our loved ones in Heaven are saints! Confusion may arise when, on
occasion, some angels are given the title saint – like St. Michael – which is typically reserved for
humans. The Latin word for saint is sancta, which means “holy.” Once in heaven — saint or
angel — one is perfected and holy.

As humans, we are totally different creatures than angels. Angels are pure spirit. Humans are
both body AND spirit, and we believe and profess that we will be reunited with our glorified
bodies when Christ comes again. To believe otherwise is to minimize the nature that God made
us to be, the very nature that Jesus Christ shared with us!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches the following about angels: “(Angels are)
spiritual, personal, and immortal creatures, with intelligence and free will, who glorifies God
without ceasing and who serves God as a messenger of his saving plan.”
And while angels are not human, they can take on human form (confusing, right?) Each of us is
assigned a guardian angel at Baptism to watch over and guard us. The Saints in Heaven (both
canonized Saints, and our loved ones who have made it to Heaven) intercede for us as well, for
they are with God!

So let us never cease to pray for our deceased loved ones and friends, not that they have “earned
their wings,” but that they are united with God and made saints…..even better!
All holy men and women of God, pray for us!!!!