January - Month of the Holy Name of Jesus

The month of January is traditionally dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus. After the Blessed Virgin Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit, the angel Gabriel appeared to St. Joseph and told him that the Child’s name should be called Jesus, meaning “God Saves.” According to Jewish law, on the 8th day after his birth a male child was to be circumcised, receive his name, and become a full member of God’s covenant people. According to the old Roman liturgical calendar, the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus was celebrated on January 1st, eight days after Christmas, the same day that He was given His sacred name. Currently we celebrate the Solemnity of the Mother of God on January 1st and honor the Holy Name of Jesus on January 3rd. For Catholics, Jesus’ sacred name is the object of a special devotion symbolized by the monogram “IHS,” (sometimes called a Christogram), which is the first three letters of the Greek spelling of His name.

Prayer Intention of the Holy Father for January, 2019


That young people, especially in Latin America, follow the example of Mary and respond to the call of the Lord to communicate the joy of the Gospel to the world. 


Named for the Roman god Janus, who is represented with two faces looking in opposite directions.  Macrobius states that it was dedicated to him, because from its situation, it might be considered to be retrospective to the past and prospective to the opening year.

January 1 - New Year’s Day
January 6 - Twelfth Day, Epiphany

“Then came old January, wrapped well
In many weeds to keep the cold away
Yet - did he quake and quiver like to quell
And blewe his nayles to warm them if he may;
For they were numbed with holding all the day,
An hatchet keene, with which he felled wood
And from the trees did lop the needlesse spray.”

Faerie Queen, Edmund Spenser

“Janiveer Freeze the pot upon the fire.”
“If the grass do grow in Janiveer, it grows the worse for it all the year.”
“A wet January, a wet spring.”
“The blackest month of all the year is the month of Janiveer.”
"As the day lengthens, so the cold strengthens."

The leaves which in the autumn of the year
Fall auburn-tinted, leaving reft and bare
Their parent trees, in many a sheltered lair
Where winter waits and watches, cold, austere,
Will lie in drifts; and when the snowdrops cheer
The woodland shadows, still the leaves are there,
Though through the glades the balmy southern air
And birds and boughs proclaim that Spring is here.

Old Year Leaves, Mackenzie Bell

Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether the summer clothe the general earth
With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun thaw; whether the eve drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to quiet Moon.

Frost at Midnight, S.T. Coleridge

The Holy Name of Jesus