Should the elect choose a baptismal name?

10 thoughts on “Should the elect choose a baptismal name?”

  1. I get a question as to why I don’t mention choosing a Confirmation name in our adult preparation process almost every year. Thanks for your article, and its clear explanation.

  2. Thanks for the clear and concise info! I, too, get this question every year and almost every year one guest speaker or another will tell the RCIA participants that they will be choosing a confirmation name – then I have to correct them. This will help immensely!

  3. Hi Karen. I’m glad it was helpful! Advent is a great season to talk about names, btw. We hear lots of stories about Jesus’ name in the readings.

  4. I just got the question again: “Do RCIA candidates choose a confirmation name?” I was so glad that I had read this article and could have a reference for the answer that I have given every year before.

  5. Hi Pat. Sounds like you’re doing a great job catechizing your parish about the value of naming. I’m glad TeamRCIA could offer a bit of support to you.

  6. When I went through RCIA in college I did choose a confirmation name. Coming from no previous religious tradition, I chose a confirmation name to provide me with an extra connection to the rich Tradition of the Catholic Church. I always thought that choosing a confirmation name was more about finding a specific person within the Catholic heritage and Tradition that you seek out an extra special bond.

    I see it as the confirmation name usually being linked to a Saint whom the candidate can call upon as a type of second confirmation sponsor. Taking on that name as a confirmation name helps to strengthen that bond.

  7. I’m with sullibe. Choosing a confirmation name isn’t so much about the name, but invoking a new and different patron saint. The pastoral practice here in the US isn’t about new identity/new name, but is, as you’ve pointed out, something the Rite doesn’t address, but which tradition dictates.

  8. I also agree with sullibe and J Cummings. We tell our RCIA participants they are welcome to choose a new name *if* they wish. We remind them that God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, and Sarai’s name to Sarah, and Simon’s name to Peter as signs of beginning a closer relationship with God and following His will. We ask them to choose a saint who has overcome some of the obstacles that they face or has some attributes they feel they need help with.

  9. Hi all. I do think if choosing a new name is important to the individual, that is something important to consider. But, as catechists, I believe we have to be careful not to introduce the practice as a Catholic “tradition.” There is a difference between a practice that I grew up with and a Tradition of the church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which is our guide to traditional Catholic teaching, does not tell us to instruct candidates for initiation to choose a new name. In fact, the Catechism says every name is sacred:

    2158 God calls each one by name. Everyone’s name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it.

  10. In our Diocese, all being Confirmed (children, youth, Adults) are asked to provide a Saint’s name for Confirmation. They are also asked to know something about this Saint that they have chosen … and in the case of our youth, write a short paper on the Saint to be presented to the Bishop prior to Confirmation

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