Friars Aidan McGrath and Hugh McKenna, Minister Provincial, with Sr Faustina
The Franciscans and Poor Clares, along with other branches of the Franciscan Family are celebrating a special Year of the Holy Name of Jesus. An opening Mass was celebrated in the Poor Clare Monastery Chapel on Friday 3rd January.
All present were surprised and delighted when Fr Aidan McGrath OFM, Secretary General of the Franciscan Order worldwide, announced at the end of Mass that Pope Francis has granted the status of a Jubilee Year to their centenary celebrations, which commemorate a new wave of the devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, which began in 1914 through a spiritual collaboration between the Poor Clares and Franciscans and was further developed by other branches of the Franciscan family.
“It is widely known that Pope Francis himself has great devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus and it is very significant that the granting of the Jubilee Year came through by mandate of the Holy Father.” said Fr Aidan. “This is a great honour for the Irish Franciscan family and a great opportunity for renewal in the Church in Ireland.”
In the same week that the indulgence was approved, Pope Francis tweeted, “We cannot think of a Church without joy. This is the joy of the Church: announcing to all the Name of Jesus”. This has given further impetus to what has now become a Jubilee Year.
“We are so thrilled. We never dreamed that this centenary would get such recognition from Pope Francis,” said Sr Colette, Mother Abbess of the Galway Poor Clare Community. “We had applied for the granting of a special indulgence but the granting of Jubilee Year status is far above what we expected.”
Novice Ronan Sharpley and Friar Marko, visiting from Assisi, at the celebration
Hugh McKenna, Minister Provincial, noted in his homily that from the earliest days of Christianity people began to realise that the name of Jesus was not merely a series of letters, but that it had an intrinsic divine power. Wherever the name of Jesus is spoken or displayed the power of Jesus can be called upon to obtain peace, holiness and as a protection from evil. He believes that the Year is an opportunity for Christians to rekindle in their hearts love for the Holy Name of Jesus. “We invoke the name of Jesus so easily and very often so carelessly without realising the significance and power of this name that has been venerated down through the centuries.”
Friars Joe Condren and David Collins with Sr Colette (Abbess, Galway) and Sr Gabrielle (Abbess, Ennis)
During the course of the opening Mass for the year, a special icon was unveiled depicting the person of Jesus and the monogram of the Holy Name. The sisters hope the icon will become a focal point for renewing this devotion. “When we call on the Name of Jesus, He is with us and it is His Presence that gives us the graces we need to cope when we are going through difficult times” said Sr Colette. “That is why it is so important to use the Name of Jesus with reverence and love.”
“We believe this is a devotion which is very relevant to the times we are living in. People are really struggling, between sickness, financial worries and depression and are looking for some way to find serenity in their lives. Simply calling on the Name of Jesus with trust, from the heart, brings His Presence and His power into the situations in our lives that we struggle with. It is the utter simplicity of this devotion which is so appealing” she continued.
Friar Thomas, Friars of the Renewal, with Abbot Richard of Roscrea Cistercian Monastery
In his homily Fr Hugh offered practical suggestions for the Jubilee Year: “If this Year of the Holy Name is to be of lasting value to us we must do more than just bow our heads whenever we hear His Name. We need to rediscover the true power of this name. We need to spend time in contemplation of this name. One very practical way, which is recommended by the Catechism, is the ancient practice of the Jesus prayer. This prayer, which goes back to the 5th century desert fathers involves the repetition of the simple prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Or when we pray the Rosary, pause in reverence at the mention of the Holy Name.”
Capuchin Sean Kelly with Sr Anne, Abbess General of Sisters of St Clare
PRAYER FOR YEAR OF THE HOLY NAME OF JESUS
JESUS, yours is the name above all names;
We offer you our heartfelt praise and gratitude
Deepen in us an abiding reverence for your Holy Name.
Jesus, Saviour, heal the wounds within
That our sin and fear have inflicted;
Set us free us from all that hinders us
Rejoicing in your boundless love,
And sharing your goodness with others.
Jesus, Friend, draw us ever closer to you.
We entrust all we carry in our hearts
To your abundant mercy.
Jesus, Lord, pour out the Holy Spirit upon your people
That our lives may overflow with your grace,
Our days be filled with your love,
And all our actions shine with your light.
For resources, prayers, reflections and history – check out: holyname.ie