May the Saints & Feast Days for the month of January inspire you to grow closer to Jesus Christ. The month of January is dedicated to the Holy Name of Jesus.
January 1: Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
The Blessed Virgin Mary has many titles but her greatest title is celebrated today: the
Mother of God. It speaks of her role in our salvation in bringing to us our Savior, Jesus
Christ. Mary became the Mother of God when she told the angel Gabriel “let it be done
unto me according to your word” and the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. The early
church fathers saw this moment as the supreme manifestation of the Holy Spirit as
Creator. St. Didimus of Alexandria wrote “the creative power of the Most High formed
the body of Christ at the moment when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Virgin Mary”.
In light of this the Church offers a plenary indulgence for singing or reciting the hymn
“Come Creator Spirit”. This hymn was originally composed in the 9th century by Bishop
Rhabanus Maurus and has been used by the Church at ecumenical councils, priest
ordinations, bishop consecrations, and Pentecost. A good translation of the original
Latin hymn is provided at the end of this blog.
“Mary is the beginning of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time.(Ref CCC 721).
For the first time in the plan of salvation, and because his Spirit had prepared her, the
Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men.”
January 3: Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus
The feast of the Holy Name of Jesus was placed on the liturgical calendar in 1727,
though it has its roots in the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The Name Jesus is a
complete summary of our Lord’s mission. In St. Joseph’s dream the angel declared that
“(Mary) will bear a Son, and you will call His name Jesus, for He will save His people
from their sins”. In the Book of Acts, on Pentecost, St. Peter said to the crowd “Repent
and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of
your sins”. After he was arrested and placed before the council, St. Peter stated “and
there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven, given among
men, by which we must be saved”. Later, when the whole Church gathered to pray, they
asked God for boldness in proclaiming the Gospel “while You stretch out Your hand to
heal and perform signs and wonders through the Name of Your holy servant Jesus”.
The great saint of the Holy Name is St. Bernardine of Siena (1380 – 1444). In his
missionary preaching he carried the Name on a banner and used it continually in his
sermons. Bernardine is the one who devised the symbol IHS, the first three letters of the
name of Jesus in Greek.
– St. Bernardine of Siena
“The Holy Name shows the immense mercifulness of God, it enables a devout man to
gain a victory in every conflict, whether with the devil, the flesh, or the world; it has the
power of healing sickness when rightly used, and it fills with joy and exultation those
who are in any adversity.”
January 8: Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord
Epiphany means manifestation, and the Church celebrates this day the manifestation of
our Lord to the whole world. He is revealed to the Magi, considered to be the first fruits
of the Gentiles, and they lead in their wake all the peoples of the earth, and thus the
Epiphany is an affirmation of universal salvation. This is also the feast day of the Holy Name of Jesus, which January is dedicated to. But this feast is superseded this day by the Solemnity of the Epiphany.
“After their audience with the king [the Magi] set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the Child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the Child with Mary, His mother. They prostrated themselves and did Him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
January 9: The Baptism of the Lord
The same Spirit that descended on the water of the River Jordan moved over the
waters during the first creation (Gen 1:2). The Baptism in the Jordan represents that
Jesus has started a new creation. He does this as the Lamb of God that takes away our
“Jesus loaded the burden of all mankind’s guilt upon His shoulders; he bore it down into the depths of the Jordan. He inaugurated his public activity by stepping into the place of sinners.”– Joseph Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth
(Excerpt from Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas, theologian and counselor to Vatican II)
“The incidents which accompanied Christ’s baptism are symbolic of what happens at
our Baptism. At Christ’s baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him; at our Baptism
the Trinity took its abode in our soul. At His baptism Christ was proclaimed the “Beloved Son” of the Father; at our Baptism we become the adopted sons and daughters of God. At Christ’s baptism the heavens were opened; at our Baptism heaven was opened to us. At His baptism Jesus prayed; after our Baptism we must pray to avoid actual sin.”
January 23: Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children
In all the Dioceses of the United States, January 23 is designated as a day of prayer
and fasting for the full restoration of the right to life, and of penance for violations to the
dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion.
“A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the(Pope SaintJohn Paul II, Evangelium Vitae)
world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to
God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group
and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer.”
January 25: The Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle
Paul was born as a Jew and a Roman citizen in the city of Tarsus, in modern-day
Turkey. At a young age, Paul began to study the Law of Moses in Jerusalem under
Gamaliel, a member of the Sanhedrin and one of the most respected Pharisees and
Doctors of the Law at that time.
Jesus was crucified when Paul was about twenty-five. Now a Pharisee himself, Paul
was violently opposed to Jesus’ new teachings, believing that they were in opposition to
the Law of Moses. After Jesus’ crucifixion, Saul devoted himself to persecuting those
who were followers of Jesus. Even when his own teacher, Gamaliel, recommended the
followers of Jesus be ignored, Paul could not hold himself back.
On his journey to Damascus, to arrest Christians, Paul encountered the risen Christ.
This not only changed his life forever, but also changed the entire world through his
“Saul, still breathing murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples, went to the high(Acts 9:1-4)
priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus which would empower
him to arrest and bring to Jerusalem anyone he might find, man or woman, living
according to the new way. As he traveled along and was approaching Damascus, a light
from the sky suddenly flashed about him. He fell to the ground and at the same time
heard a voice saying, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” “Who are you, sir?” he
asked. “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting.”
January 26: Saints Timothy and Titus
St. Timothy was a missionary traveling companion of St. Paul and was ultimately
stationed in Ephesus, as their first bishop. It is believed that the pastoral letters from St.
Paul, I Timothy and II Timothy, were written while he was at Ephesus. According to
tradition, St. Timothy was stoned to death in Ephesus while protesting a feast to the
goddess Diana, around 97 AD.
St. Titus was also a missionary traveling companion of St. Paul, who was eventually
assigned to Crete and ordained as their first bishop. The pastoral letter from St. Paul to
St. Titus was written while he was in Crete. According to tradition, St. Titus died from
natural causes at the age of 97.
“For the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce
irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world.
Awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior
Jesus Christ. Who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for
Himself a people of His own who are zealous for good deeds.”
January 28: St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 -1274)
One of the greatest theologians of all time, St. Thomas had a vision of Christ during
Mass four months before he died. After this vision he stopped writing the Summa
Theologica commenting “I can do no more. Such secrets have been revealed to me that
all I have written now appears to be of little value”. Even though Christ had declared to
St. Thomas in another vision, that St. Thomas had written well of Him, St. Thomas saw
that the difference between his inspired reasoning and the glory of God was vast.
“The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Love; It signifies Love, It produces love. The– St. Thomas Aquinas
Eucharist is the consummation of the whole spiritual life.”