The meaning of the celebration
+ The celebration of the name of Mary dates to 1513 when it was first celebrated in Spain.
+ The feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary was extended to the Universal Church after King John III Sobieski of Poland defeated the forces of the Ottoman Empire as they were preparing to invade Vienna, Austria. Before the battle, he entrusted himself and his troops to the Blessed Virgin.
+ This celebration of the Mother of God is a compliment to the celebration of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (January 3). Pope Saint John Paul II re-inserted both celebrations into the Universal Calendar of the Church in 2002.
+ The entrance antiphon for today’s commemoration reminds of the meaning of this celebration:
Blessed are you, O Virgin Mary, by the Lord God Most High,
above all women on the earth;
for he has so exalted your name,
that your praise shall be undying on our lips.
+ This celebration reminds us of Mary’s special role as an intercessor for all people of faith.
For prayer and reflection
“Mary helps us to open our hearts to God’s ways, wherever they may lead us. Honored under the title ‘Queen of Peace,’ Mary encourages us to cooperate with Jesus in building a peace based on justice, a peace that respects the fundamental human rights (including religious rights) of all people.”—Enzo Lodi, Saints of the Roman Calendar
While many religious communities have special devotion to the Mother of God, the Commemoration of the Most Holy Name of Mary is celebrated as the patron feast of the Society of Mary (the Marianists) and the Congregation of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that, for all who celebrate the glorious Name
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
she may obtain your merciful favor.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.