Today’s feast of the Holy Name of Mary dates back to 1683 when the Austrian capital Vienna was besieged by an army of half a million marauding Turks who threatened to overrun Europe and establish Islam as the dominant religion. The Catholic King of Poland, John Sobieski, came to the assistance of Vienna with a much smaller army. After attending Mass, he rallied his troops and said to them: Let us march with confidence under the protection of Heaven and with the aid of the Most Holy Virgin. When the Turks saw the Polish army, they were struck with fear and fled the field.
Pope Innocent XI ordered that the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary be celebrated each year in memory of this event which undoubtedly saved Europe from being overrun by the Muslims. The purpose of the feast is to remind us to pray, through the intercession of Mary, for all the needs of the Church and to give thanks to God for his gracious protection and mercy.
This feast, along with so many others was suppressed during the liturgical reforms of the early 1970’s and was restored to the General Calendar by Pope John Paul II shortly before he died.
The holy names of Jesus and Mary have more power than anything else in this world. If we call upon the name of Our Lady and ask her intercession for us with her Son then we can be confident that our Mother is going to be praying for us.
And so on this feast of her Holy Name let us pray to her for the Church and for all its needs.