Ministry Newsletter

Ministry Newsletter │ January 2024

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January is Dedicated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus

The month of January is dedicated to the Most Holy Name of Jesus and, on January 3rd, the Roman Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

Early Christians started to commemorate the ceremonial naming of Jesus on January 1st for it is the eighth day following Christmas Day on December 25th which was formally commemorated as Jesus’ birthday by emperor Constantine and Pope Julius I in the mid-fourth century. “When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb” (Luke 2:21).

Devotion to the Holy Name is deeply rooted in the Sacred Scriptures, especially in the Acts of the Apostles. The devotion was promoted by various saints over the centuries including St. Bernard of Clairvaux and the Franciscans, St. Bernardine of Siena and St. John of Capistrano. The Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is the titular feast of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits.

The Holy Name of Jesus has been represented in Christian art as a monogram with the initials, IHS, the first three letters of Jesus (Iēsous) in the ancient Greek alphabet: iota (I), eta (represented by H when capitalized in Greek), and sigma (S). A less common variation of IHC has also been used in the past because sigma is represented by c when the letter is in the middle of a Greek word. A monogram for the name of Jesus is known as a Christogram. It is very common to see the IHS Christogram on Christian grave memorials and headstones, especially at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery.

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)

An IHS Christogram at the top of the Mullen memorial at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery (Section 9).
A stylized, intertwined IHS Christogram on a grave marker at Mount Olivet Catholic Cemetery (Section 2).

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