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Catholic Dictionary




The name of Jesus, from the Aramaic Yeshu and the Hebrew Jehoshua, which means "Yahweh is salvation." It was given to Christ by the angel at the time of the Annunciation (Luke 1:31). It is a common name among Arabic people and is given in baptism to children in Spain and Spanish-speaking countries. A feast in honor of the Holy Name was instituted in the fifteenth century by the bishops of Belgium, England, Scotland, and Germany and extended to the universal Church in 1721. It was celebrated on the Sunday between the first and sixth of January if one occurred. Otherwise it was on January 2. The great apostle of devotion to the Holy Name wa St. Bernardine of Siena (1380-1444), who would preach holding a board on which were the first three letters of the Savior's name in its Greek form-IHS-surrounded by rays, and he persuaded people to copy these plaques and erect them over their dwellings and public buildings.