Why Venerate Mary’s Name?

Why Venerate Mary’s Name? September 12, 2015

Mary Icon Flickr.com CC

September 12 marks the feast of the Holy Name of Mary in the Catholic Church.

On this day, we venerate Mary’s name, since she is the Mother of God and the holiest of all creatures. After the Assumption, she was crowned Queen of heaven and earth. That makes her name a royal one and worthy of our respect.

So, what’s in a name?

In Biblical times – and still today – names had great meaning and Mary’s is no different. In the Hebrew language, Mary’s name would have been “Miryam,” which means “sovereign lady.”Although there are many other interpretations, the most commonly used translation of the name Mary is “Star of the Sea.”

That translation is so perfect because of Mary’s all in the plan of salvation.

According to Jewish custom, Mary’s parents, Joachim and Anne, took her to the temple when she was eight days old and were inspired by God to call her Mary.

When we refer to Mary as “Star of the Sea,” we recall the fact that, like the stars in the sky, her task – in fact, her very nature – is to reflect the Light. The physical stars in the sky reflect the Sun’s light. Mary reflects the Light of her Son, Jesus Christ.

Additionally, as “Star of the Sea,” she acts as a guide, always leading us to our Lord. In times of turbulent waters, she is a beacon, leading us out of danger and away from the evil one. When caught in a storm, she intercedes for us in all our needs.

Mary’s name, therefore, is really more than just a name. It’s a prayer in and of itself.

When we utter Mary’s name, we’re honoring her as Mother and Queen and recalling her holiness and intercessory “power.”

Saints have witnessed that simply saying the name Mary will banish the evil one.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux has been a great advocate of the holiness and efficaciousness of the Name of Mary.

In a homily about Mary, he said:

“Look to the star of the sea, call upon Mary … in danger, in distress, in doubt, think of Mary, call upon Mary. May her name never be far from your lips, or far from your heart … If you follow her, you will not stray; if you pray to her, you will not despair; if you turn your thoughts to her, you will not err. If she holds you, you will not fall; if she protects you, you need not fear; if she is your guide, you will not tire; if she is gracious to you, you will surely reach your destination.”

Today’s feast is a long tradition in the Church.

It was approved in 1513 by the Holy See under Pope Innocent XI. In 1683, the observance was extended to the entire Church in thanksgiving to our Lady for the September 12, 1683 victory by the king of Poland over the Turks in the siege of Vienna. It was celebrated annually after that.

Sadly, the feast of the Holy Name of Mary fell out of use after 1969. However, in 2000, St. John Paul II restored it to the Roman Calendar when the third typical edition of the Missal was published.

Mary truly is the Star of the Sea, and is relentless in her vigilance over us.

Please take just two minutes to join with me in thanking her and venerating her holy name on this Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.

Let’s pray together the Litany of the Holy Name of Mary.

For those of you who are not familiar with this beautiful Catholic tradition, let me explain. The word “litany” comes from a Greek word λιτή (litê) [lee-tay], meaning “prayer” or “supplication.” It’s an ancient Christian form of prayer that dates back to at least the third century and in which saints are invoked for the purpose of prayer on behalf of the one praying.

And so, today we invoke our dear Blessed Mother in honor of the sovereign name given to her by her parents upon God’s inspiration.


Litany of the Holy Name of Mary
For private use only. 

Lord, have mercy. 
Lord, have mercy. 
Christ, have mercy. 
Christ, have mercy. 
Lord, have mercy. 
Lord, have mercy. 
Son of Mary, hear us. 
Son of Mary, graciously hear us.

Heavenly Father, of Whom Mary is the Daughter, 
Have mercy on us. 
Eternal Word, of Whom Mary is the Mother, 
Have mercy on us. 
Holy Spirit, of Whom Mary is the spouse, 
Have mercy on us. 
Divine Trinity, of Whom Mary is the Handmaid, 
Have mercy on us. 
Mary , Mother of the Living God, pray for us. 
Mary, daughter of the Light Eternal, pray for us. 
Mary, our light, etc. 
Mary, our sister, 
Mary, flower of Jesse, 
Mary , issue of kings, 
Mary, chief work of God, 
Mary, the beloved of God, 
Mary, Immaculate Virgin, 
Mary, all fair, 
Mary, light in darkness, 
Mary, our sure rest, 
Mary, house of God, 
Mary, sanctuary of the Lord, 
Mary, altar of the Divinity, 
Mary, Virgin Mother, 
Mary, embracing thy Infant God, 
Mary, reposing with Eternal Wisdom, 
Mary, ocean of bitterness, 
Mary, Star of the Sea, 
Mary, suffering with thine only Son, 
Mary, pierced with a sword of sorrow, 
Mary, torn with a cruel wound, 
Mary, sorrowful even to death , 
Mary, bereft of all consolation, 
Mary, submissive to the law of God, 
Mary, standing by the Cross of Jesus, 
Mary, Our Lady, 
Mary, Our Queen, 
Mary, Queen of glory , 
Mary, glory of the Church Triumphant, 
Mary, Blessed Queen, 
Mary, advocate of the Church Militant, 
Mary, Queen of Mercy, 
Mary, consoler of the Church Suffering, 
Mary, exalted above the Angels, 
Mary, crowned with twelve stars, 
Mary, fair as the moon, 
Mary, bright as the sun, 
Mary, distinguished above all, 
Mary, seated at the right hand of Jesus, 
Mary, our hope, 
Mary, our sweetness, 
Mary, glory of Jerusalem , 
Mary, joy of Israel, 
Mary, honor of our people, 
Mary, Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, 
Mary, Our Lady of the Assumption, 
Mary, Our Lady of Loreto, 
Mary, Our Lady of Lourdes, 
Mary, Our Lady of Fatima, 
Mary, Our Lady of Czestochowa, 
Mary, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, 
Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 
Mary, Our Lady of the Angels, 
Mary, Our Lady of Dolors, 
Mary, Our Lady of Mercy, 
Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, 
Mary, Our Lady of Victory , 
Mary, Our Lady of La Trappe, 
Mary, Our Lady of Divine Providence,
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, 
Spare us, O Lord Jesus. 
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, 
Graciously hear us, O Lord Jesus. 
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, 
Have mercy on us, O Lord Jesus. 
Son of Mary , hear us. 
Son of Mary, graciously hear us. 
V. I will declare thy name unto my brethren. 
R. I will praise thee in the assembly of the faithful. 

Let Us Pray. 

O Almighty God, Who beholdest Thy servants earnestly desirous 
of placing themselves under the shadow of the name and protection 
of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, vouchsafe, we beseech Thee, 
that by her charitable intercession, we may be delivered from all 
evil on earth, and may arrive at everlasting joys in Heaven, 
through Jesus Christ Our Lord. R. Amen. 



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