Do you need to have a saint’s name for baptism or confirmation?

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7 thoughts on “Do you need to have a saint’s name for baptism or confirmation?”

  1. Rita Burns Senseman

    Nick,
    Thanks for the reference to the CCC. It’s wonderfully helpful! I always talked to baptized Confirmation candidates about “honoring their baptismal name.” This is a great reference in the CCC.

  2. Angela Marchington

    It seems strange to me that anyone would object to pebbles – After all Peter (named by Jesus himself) means rock!

  3. Nick,
    Thank you for this posting. I was told today by my mother that the name we chose for our child (Caprica) would prevent her from being able to be baptised in the Catholic faith. I am glad to know that this is not true.

  4. Rosemarie Turner

    While I also believe the Lord has called us each by name, we are assuming those who chose the name of the child were open to the Lord’s leading, to the Holy Spirit. God always gives us a choice and we know too well how often we do not choose His way. I am glad there is still the option to choose another name at Confirmation.

  5. Hi,
    Thanks for writing. I like the approach you take here! A friend asked for ideas for her baby’s name, and asked me does it matter if not a “saint name”, so I was googling about this.

    (Also, superb observation of Angela Marchington’s comment, re pebble=rock! That demonstrates how we will find at least some “non-Christian” names CAN be found to reflect SOME Christian value or virtue or principle; and then we can use that to remind the child/person of it.)

    Also from the CC: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c1a2.htm#2156
    … I often see (elsewhere) that the above CCC#2156 is sometimes misquoted/misused to say you “MUST” have a canonized saint’s name, with people getting all upset otherwise! Whereas, best as I understand, its final few sentences are specifying something much broader (and much more meaningful, IMHO).
    Quote: The “baptismal name” can also express a Christian mystery or Christian virtue. “Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to see that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment.”
    Unquote.
    And I would interpret that in the broadest way, to mean “hence, anything that expresses Christian sentiment, IS fine”.
    So EVEN for a “brand new 🙂 baby baptism”, when choosing a name, I would think there is no need to be stringent about “Canonized saint’s” names. Although in that case I would say it’s good to SUGGEST that “let’s have a name that reflects some Christian sentiment/value/principle/person”, where “person” i would think most certainly can be OT people of faith too.
    If an already-named person comes for Baptism/Confirmation, I agree with Nick’s view and how he applies CCC2158; but I would also suggest LET THE PERSON decide whether there is some GOOD REASON to take another such name if s/he doesn’t already have. But certainly not as a “compulsory” thing.

    Thanks again.

  6. Margaret Erickson

    I have a granddaughter McKenna, who when she learned of the practice of having a saint’s name was disappointed that she didn’t have one. I told her about Fr. Horace McKenna, S.J. who was a very saintly priest in Southern Maryland and D.C. This satisfied her somewhat, though at age 8 she confessed that she addressed prayer to him with the introductory “Even though you’re not a REAL saint, would you please …” When her brother was named Carter I figured “Here we go again” but then discovered William Carter, an Elizabethan martyr! So even the unusual names may have saintly connections.

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