The biblical history of this feast evolved to a celebration of the defeat of the Ottoman forces, and now is a reminder of Mary's power today.
The September 12 feast of the Holy Name of Mary is an optional memorial.
The feast is closely associated with the birth of the Virgin Mary, which is celebrated on September 8.
The roots of the feast go back to Cuenca, Spain, and it was originally celebrated on the Octave Day of Mary’s birth, that is September 15.
In this way, it mirrored the Holy Name of Jesus, celebrated 8 days after Jesus’ birth, because that feast is connected to the Jewish ceremony of circumcision, which was celebrated 8 days after a boy’s birth as recorded in the Bible.
In the 1600s, though, the feast was moved to September 12. This happened after the Battle of Vienna (1683), in which the Christian forces of Polish King Jan Sobieski defeated the Ottomans on September 12.
John Paul II’s devotion
However it was Pope John Paul II in 2002 who brought the feast back to the universal Church after the 20th-century reorganization of the calendar.
The 3rd typical edition of the Roman Missal, promulgated by John Paul II in 2002, restored the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary on September 12.
That was the same year that he released his apostolic letter on the Rosary, just a year after the terrorist attacks in New York.
For the Angelus address after that tragic attack, John Paul II was in Frosinone, Italy. He noted the way in which Mary is honored with so many titles.
How many are the titles with which you honour and call upon Mary. They form a rich litany which witnesses in impressive fashion to the faith you received from your fathers: Our Lady of Grace, Our Lady of Suffrage, Our Lady of Good Health, Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Our Lady of the Snows, Our Lady of Hope….
On this beautiful feast, let’s pray to Our Lady for all of our intentions, with the most commonly known and used prayer to her – a prayer which begins proclaiming her Holy Name, and repeats her name again in petition.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.