The feast of the Holy Name of Mary, celebrated on September 12th, has a long history. It was in 1513 when Pope Julius III gave the permission to the Cuenta diocese in Spain to celebrate The Holy Name of Mary feast. This feast had a proper Office to September 15, the octave of our Lady’s Nativity. As a result of the liturgical reform undertaken by Pope St. Pius V, wherein it was abolished it was Pope Sixtus V that not only reinstated the feast but also moved it to September 17. Following this liturgical move the feast became so popular throughout Spain as well as the Kingdom of Naples.
As time went by, some religious orders were granted permission to celebrate the feast. It was Pope Innocent XI who made “The Feast of the Holy Name of Mary” possible for the entire Church. Initially it started to be celebrated on the Sunday following the Nativity of Mary. However, thanks to a decree, Pope St Pius X commanded that this feast be celebrated on September 12, the reason being that of commemorating the great victory over the Turks at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. When for a short time this feast was mistakenly mixed with that of the Blessed Virgin Mary’s Nativity on September 8, it was re-established for September 12.
Mary’s name is holy because she is the Mother of God. Mary is the holiest of all creatures, designed by the Father, through the Son in the Holy Spirit to be the Queen of heaven and earth. Mary is the Mother of Mercy. In the feast of the Holy Name of Mary we commemorate God’s outstanding love for Mary thanks to the privileges He imparted on her as well as her powerful intercessory role, fully united with that of Her Son Jesus Christ on our behalf, thanks to whom we all received grace upon grace (John 1:16).