Historical Sketch

Devotion to the Holy Name goes back to the Old Testament where we find reverence for the name of God enjoined by the Second Commandment. The beginning of the Holy Name Society, as an organized effort to promote the fulfillment of this Commandment, can be traced back to the Thirteenth Century when the heretics of that day, particularly in France and Spain, made violent attacks upon the divinity of Christ, ridiculed His supernatural character and His Holy Name.

The formal beginning of the Holy Name Society is credited to Pope Gregory X, who in 1274 commissioned the newly founded Dominican Order to concentrate its efforts on preaching greater devotion to the Holy Name.

On April 13, 1564, Pope Pius IV instituted the Confraternity of the Most Holy Name, and thus provided Papal recognition and approval for this devo­tion to the name of God and of Christ.

The Holy Name Society, as it is popularly known in North America, has done good that has never been estimated, but the record is available: how it check­ed profanity and indecent language, and how it taught men to love and respect the Holy Name. It has become a bastion of belief in the divinity of Christ among Catholic men in America and it also has been an outstanding vehicle for an effective lay apostolate.

On February 1, 1970, the National Association of the Holy Name Society was established at a national convention in New Orleans.


The essential obligation of the Holy Name member might he summed up in the first petition of the Our Father, “Hallowed Be Thy Name.” Thus:

► The member should avoid disrespect to the name of God, of Jesus, and of what is sacred, and should abstain from all improper language, such as blasphemy, perjury, cursing, profanity and indecency;

► The member should, as far as prudence permits, induce others to refrain from such insults to God and morality;

► The member should praise and glorify God by fidelity to prayer, especially to both private and public Holy Name devotions:

► The member should, as far as it can be done, bring others, particularly those committed to the member’s care, to know and honor the name of God by prayer and praise;

► The member should avoid any con­duct which would cause or tempt others to ridicule or despise our Catholicity or Holy Name Society, lest it be true in the words of Saint Paul, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” (Rom. 2:24);

► The member should fulfill all the obligations of membership in the Mys­tical Body of Christ, the Church, according to one’s state in life, as well as the specific obligations of membership in Holy Name Society, particularly by attendance at all meetings, whether social or devotional;

► It should be noted that regulations imposed only by the constitution do not bind under sin. Holy Name members as a matter of honor should live up to these regulations. They should also, in all their activities, as members, be mindful of the divine law of charity.

Fellowship in Good Works

Every member while he is faithful to his obligations, shares in all the good works, the Masses, the preaching, the teaching and the manual labor of the Dominican Order.

Other Spiritual Benefits

On October 25, 1967, the Sacred Penitentiary, in response to the petition of the Dominican Order, granted a plenary indulgence to the members of the Holy Name Society, the usual conditions being observed, on the following occasions:

The usual days of the member’s enrollment:

Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, the Feast of Christ the King, the Annunciation of Our Lady, the Assumption of Our Lady, and the Feast of Saint Joseph the Worker.