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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“One would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table form; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See.”
— Ven. Pope Pius XII (20 November 1947)

The Hallowed Name
published 9 January 2012 by Fr. David Friel

In the Catholic tradition of many centuries, the month of January has been dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. Today, in particular, the Church celebrates the great Name of salvation as an optional memorial.

I was struck while celebrating Mass today by the beauty of the orations. Neither in the Collect nor the Prayer over the Offerings nor in the Prayer after Communion does the name “Jesus” appear. What a marvelous omission! Catholics of a certain age would remember the custom of preachers to avoid the overuse of the Divine Name, substituting instead equivalents such as “our Blessed Lord,” “Christ our Savior,” etc. By limiting their employment of that most sacred and powerful Name, the preachers of old and the prayers of the new Roman Missal intend to cultivate a practical reverence for the Son of God.

This is not, however, the only tradition. In fact, the man most responsible for spreading the Holy Name devotion in the Church, St. Bernardine of Siena (d. 1444), was also responsible for the insertion of the Name, “Jesus,” into the prayer, Hail Mary. Therefore, the approach of St. Bernardine was to increase the frequency of the Name’s utterance. A similar example is found in the missionary work of the North American martyrs, who wrote the Name, “Jesus,” on trees throughout the forest as an aid to the conversion of the Iroquois people.

It would seem, then, that there are two legitimate traditions. This diversity, in itself, is a beauty of the Church. But perhaps what is most significant is not which tradition we choose to follow. Whether we withhold our expression of the Divine Name or speak it frequently, our purpose should be the same: to render honor unto Him Whose Name it is.

Laudetur Iesus Christus — Nunc et in aeternum!