Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Maurice and the Theban Legion
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Why is the Holy Name of Mary celebrated on September 12?


William-Adolphe Bouguereau | Public Domain

Philip Kosloski - published on 09/12/21

The feast of the Holy Name of Mary dates to the 16th century and has been celebrated on many different dates in history.

Currently the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church honors the Holy Name of Mary with an optional memorial on September 12.

The feast is closely associated with the birth of the Virgin Mary, which is celebrated on September 8.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the feast “was instituted in 1513 at Cuenca in Spain, and assigned with proper Office to Sept. 15, the octave day of Mary’s Nativity. After the reform of the Breviary by St. Pius V, by a Decree of Sixtus V (16 Jan., 1587), it was transferred to Sept. 17.”

This assignment of the feast to 8 days after the birth of the Virgin Mary corresponds to the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, which is celebrated 8 days after the birth of Jesus.

The feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is connected to the Jewish ceremony of circumcision, which was celebrated 8 days after a boy’s birth and is recorded in the Bible.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21)

Girls do not have the same naming ceremony in Jewish tradition, though girls are named within the first few weeks of birth.

In the 17th century the feast was extended to the universal Church and given another date according to the Catholic Encyclopedia.

After the siege of Vienna and the glorious victory of Sobieski over the Turks (12 Sept., 1683), the feast was extended to the universal Church by Innocent XI, and assigned to the Sunday after the Nativity of Mary.

It wasn’t until 1908 that a decree stated, “whenever this feast cannot be celebrated on its proper Sunday on account of the occurrence of some feast of a higher rank, it must be kept on 12 Sept., the day on which the victory of Sobieski is commemorated in the Roman Martyrology.”

At the time it was believed that Mary played a vital role in the military victory and the pope connected it to the feast of the Holy Name of Mary.

Nevertheless, it is fitting to celebrate the Holy Name of Mary within this time frame.

Devotions and FeastsVirgin Mary
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
Cecilia Pigg
7 Ways the saints can help you sleep better at night
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Philip Kosloski
Why do some Eastern Catholics use spoons for Holy Communion?
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.