“You shall call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”

The Latin Church has today as the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus; it is historically associated with the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus celebrated on the 8th Day of Christmas, January 1. Both the Latin and Eastern Churches have the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus. It is not only the shedding of skin but the giving of the name according to Jewish Law thus making the baby a member of God’s household committed to the Covenant.

We know that the name ‘Jesus’ means ‘God Saves’ and is the name that St. Joseph was instructed by an angel to name the Child. By Divine Will, it is the sacred name before which “every knee should bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:10-11). The only name that saves.

Devotion to the Most Holy Name of Jesus was popularized by the Franciscan St. Bernardine of Siena in the 15th century, often symbolized by the monogram IHS (denoting the first three letters of the Greek spelling of Jesus’ name). The feast was given to the Order of Friars Minor by Clement VI.  But it is known by the Cistercians with the preaching of St. Bernard before this time; it is the same monogram that Loyola used for the Jesuits. By 1721, Innocent XII gave the feast of the Holy Name to the entire Church as the Emperor Charles VI.

Today the feast of the Holy Name of Jesus is celebrated on January 3rd. And the month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name.