The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
1st January (or the beginning of the second school term)

The Society of Jesus celebrates this as its Title Feast. Ignatius and his first companions desired that their new Society be "dsignated by the name Jesus" (Formula of the Institute n.1) and this wish was granted by Pope Paul III in September 1540 when he approved the Society of Jesus. In the revision of the universal calendar in 1996, the separate Feast of the Holy Name was restored (to 3rd January). However, the Society of Jesus retains the practice of celebrating this feast with that of Mary Mothr of Jesus on 1st January.

This feast is the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, and the Giving of the Holy Name of Jesus, as well as being the Octave Day of Christmas.

The Virgin Mary was venerated as the Mother of God when, in 431, the Council of Ephesus acclaimed her Theotokos (or "God-bearer"). In Rome in the seventh century, a feast on this day celebrated her role in the mystery of the Incarnation but was soon eclipsed by other Marian feasts. Restored to the liturgical calendar in 1931 and to this day in 1969, the feast celebrates, from a Marian perspective, the Word made flesh, and thus contines and enriches the observance of Christmas. (from the Missal of the Society of Jesus)

It is suggested that this is a good feast with which to open the new school term in January. The feast may used on any suitable day towards the beginning of term.

The texts of the prayers below are taken from the Jesuit Missal (2001) and the suggested readings from the Jesuit Lectionary (2002) and approved by the Holy See for use in Jesuit churches and chapels.

You may also wish to consider using Philipans 2:1-11 (At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow) as an alternative reading, and either Luke 1:26-33 (And you must name him Jesus) or Luke 2:21-35 (When the eighth day came they gave him the name Jesus) as alternative gospels.


Opening Prayer
O God,
you willed that your Word take flesh
of the Virgin Mary,
your handmaid,
and you gave him the name Jesus.
Transform our minds and hearts
to grasp what you say to us now
in our own day,
in Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen..

First Reading
Numbers 6:22-27 (So shall they invoke my name)
or Sirach 24:1-2, 8-12 (Before all ages, in the beginning, he created me)

Psalm 67: 2-3, 5-6, 8
R/. May God bless us in his mercy.

Second Reading
Galatians 4:4-7 (God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts)
or Ephesians 1:3-6, 11-13 (In him we were also chosen)

Gospel Acclamation (Hebrews 1:1-2)
Alleluia, alleluia!
In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these days, he has spken to us through the Son.

Luke 2:16-21 (Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart)

Offertory Prayer
Lord, our God,
the Society that bears the name of Jesus, your Son,
lays before you the first fruits of another year.
Come and visit us as the dayspring from on high,
that we may serve you in holiness and justice
all the days of our lives.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Postcommunion Prayer
Father most holy,
we give you thanks for this communion
in the body and blood of your Jesus Christ, your Son.
Grant that by the power of these mysteries,
we may walk in a manner worthy of the calling we have received.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.