The meaning of the celebration
+ The earliest evidence of devotion to the Name of Jesus comes to us from the New Testament (e.g. Acts 4:10, Romans 10:13, and Philippians 2:10). In the Middle Ages, writers like Saint Anselm of Canterbury and Richard Rolle began to promote devotion to the Holy Name.
+ In the fifteenth century the Franciscan priest Saint Bernardine of Siena became the champion of the Holy Name and actively promote this devotion.
+ The liturgical commemoration of the name of Jesus was extended to the Universal Church in 1721. Although the commemoration was removed from the Church’s calendar in 1969 (since the “imposition of the name of Jesus is already commemorated in the office of the Octave of Christmas”), it was restored to the General Roman Calendar in 2002. The date of January 3 is based on the long-standing tradition of the Society of Jesus, who celebrated this day as their titular feast.
+ This celebration invites us to reflect on the mystery of salvation made manifest in the life and mission of Jesus, whose name means “God saves.”
For prayer and reflection
At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.—Philippians 2:10-11
For religious communities named for the Holy Name of Jesus, visit the links below.
-Franciscan Friars (Priests and Brothers), Most Holy Name Province: www.BeAFranciscan.org
-Dominican Friars (Priests and Brothers), Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus: www.opwest.org
-The Benedictine Sisters of Holy Name Monastery (St. Leo, FL): https://benedictinesistersoffl.org/
-The Carmelite Nuns of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Denmark, WI): http://holynamecarmel.org
-The Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, Most Holy Name Province: www.stellaosf.org
On January 3 we also remember the Syro-Malabar priest Saint Kuriakose (Cyriacus) Elias Chavara. Honored as the co-founder of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate and the Congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel. Known for his commitment to Church unity and his love of the Eucharist and the Mother of God, Saint Kuriakose died in Ernakulam, Kerala, India, on January 3, 1871, and was canonized in 2014.
O God, who founded the salvation of the human race
on the Incarnation of your Word,
give your peoples the mercy they implore,
so that all may know there is no other name to be invoked
but the Name of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.