A feast honoring the Name of Mary was instituted in Spain in 1513, but on this day in 1693 a great military victory was won by King Jan Sobieski of Poland who, after entrusting his troops to the protection of Mary, came to the rescue of the city of Vienna which was under siege by Turkish forces. In thanksgiving for the deliverance of this Christian city, the pope extended this feast to the entire Church. It was dropped from the Church’s calendar in 1969, but Pope John Paul II reinstituted it. Let us invoke the Name of Mary and ask her to intercede for us with Pope Benedict. Our reflection is from part of a homily that he gave when he visited his Bavarian homeland in 2006.
Today we celebrate the feast of the "Most Holy Name of Mary". To all those women who bear that name - my own mother and my sister were among them, as the Bishop mentioned - I offer my heartfelt good wishes for their feast day. Mary, the Mother of the Lord, has received from the faithful the title of Advocate: she is our advocate before God. And this is how we see her, from the wedding-feast of Cana onwards: as a woman who is kindly, filled with maternal concern and love, a woman who is attentive to the needs of others and, out of desire to help them, brings those needs before the Lord. In today's Gospel we have heard how the Lord gave Mary as a Mother to the beloved disciple and, in him, to all of us. In every age, Christians have received with gratitude this legacy of Jesus, and, in their recourse to his Mother, they have always found the security and confident hope which gives them joy in God and makes us joyful in our faith in him. May we too receive Mary as the lodestar guiding our lives, introducing us into the great family of God! Truly, those who believe are never alone. Amen!