Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Is it a saints name?


The Holy Father proposes a return to using Christian names for kids.

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POPE Benedict XVI has urged parents to use proper Christian names when naming their children.  The Pope was believed to be speaking out against the trend of copying obscure celebrity baby names. - Source
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Instead of "Apple".
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People do name their kids weird names - no doubt about it.  Even John Paul - few people realize the Pope took that name because he was a huge fan of Jean Paul Belmondo, the famous French actor.  I know!  That's a lie of course, but a lot of people name their kids after people - celebrity or not - instead of saints.  I myself prefer saints names.
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When I was baptized the priest questioned the name Terrance - I suppose it was at that point my mother had to convince him my patron saint was actually St. Therese.  Little did they know, there is a St. Terrance.  That said, many priests and Catholics don't always know if there is a saint associated with an unusual name already.  To be sure, if priests did know their saints a little better, they could actually help the irreligious mom and dad with a short catechesis in preparation for baptism, rather than trying to control and dictate what name they choose for their kid.  (Gosh!  So many rules!)
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I've written about all of this before, so I'll not waste time criticizing how church people decide to exercise their authority.  Parents should do their homework however, and surprise the priest with how much they actually know about what is in a name.
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For example:
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You like the name Evan?  Tell the priest it is a derivative of Eve - I think she was a Biblical figure.  For a boy it also works as a derivative for Evangelist - just tell Father the John is silent.
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How about the despised Tiffany?  A derivative of Epiphany - a Biblical event - and the girl has 3 kings for patrons.  Not bad.
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Sienna?  The patroness is Catherine of Sienna - or Bernadine.
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Avery?  How about Ave as in Maria?
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Adler?  Derivative of St. Adalbert.
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Just a few examples, I know.  I suggest you be creative if you want an unique baby name - and if all else fails, add "Mary" or "Maria" or "Joseph" to the name - religious people have done that for centuries.  Remember Sammy-Jo, Heather Locklear's character from "Dynasty"?  Jo could be for St. Josephine or Joseph, and Sammy would have to be for Samuel.  Oh sure, now you wonder who the patron saint for Heather is?  St. Eric of course.  The name Erica comes from the Latin word for the Heather plant. The name is the feminine form of Eric - there is a saint named Eric.
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A traditional saint's name would certainly be better than a name like "Apple", but it doesn't mean you can't be creative either.  Who knows - if you are good Catholic parents with an unusual baby name - that baby might become the very first St. "Apple".  I know, Gwyneth Paltrow is not Catholic, although I do wonder if Gwyneth may have named her daughter with St. Apollonia in mind?  It is a stretch, I know - but one might attribute Apple to Apollonia, might one?  BTW - Apollonia is the feminine for Apollo - a pagan God - the male equivalent is Apollonius.  Yet both are saints names.
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Anyway, don't get too bent out of shape about this whole thing.  I'd be more concerned that the parents are married and of the opposite sex, as well as intent upon raising the "Apple" Catholic. 

32 comments:

  1. That's so funny. After reading your title the first name that jumped into my head was "Apple."

    The name I dislike the most is Ashley with it's hundred and one spellings.

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  2. One my daughter-in-law's friends named her baby boy "Aesop", as in "Aesop's Tales". I'm still reeling a bit from that one.
    The trend with the New York hipster crowd seems to be to name your kids really old-sounding names like Otto, Oscar, Henry, Adele, and Oona.
    They seem to like vowels.

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  3. I've always told people, the names I've thought of for children:

    Plato, Proclus, Dionysius, Bacchus and Macrina.

    Yep. All Saints.

    Indeed, I said Dionysius and Bacchus would have to be twins!

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  4. what's w/the name2:29 PM

    my son pondered aloud one day during his confirmation prep-year if he could pick a name that wasn't a saint so that he could through the grace of God become a saint and expand the Saint Name list ... he figured some names where pagan before their owner became Christian saints ... so you see he was wondering if this might be a good starter carrot for some kids towards a life of holiness ... See he could become the patron saint for kids given bad names by parents ... patience, good humor, etc

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  5. Just a comment... I dont mean to correct you Terry... wait what happened to calling you Teddy? For St. Theodore R... oh wait.

    Anyways, EVAN is a derivative of John, just as Ivan, and Johan etc...

    So the John isn't silent... and my point isn't that you are wrong, but actually quite right. If more priest knew their saints better, and parents did a little investigating they could line a saint up with a name they like. It would kill two birds with one stone... oh wait we cant use language like that anymore can we?

    It would kill two birds with one marshmallow... you know, kinder gentler images in media.

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  6. My real name is a Spanish adjective. My great-grandfather was not happy. I named my own children Luke and Timothy -not only saints but books of the bible. Unfortunately I was so uneducated that I thought Timothy wrote Timothy. (It was actually St. Paul.)

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  7. Anonymous4:45 PM

    there are many martyr and saint:
    1)Saint Timoteo, Efeso's bishop, martyr 97 a.C
    1) martyr in Rome
    1) martyr in Macedonia
    1) martyr in Tebaide
    1) martyr in Mauritania
    1) martyr in Rome
    1) bishop martyr in Bitinia
    1) martyr in Palestina
    1) martyr and saint in Rome
    1)martyr in Reims (France)
    1)bishop martyr in Bitinia

    sorry :-) I dont know other

    bye from Italy

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  8. Angela - but of course - Evan would be John, just like Ivan! Thanks.

    BTW - I know your real name - it is a saints name - Bl. Pier Giorgio's grandma's name was the same - which prompted me to look for the saints name - I just can't recall who it is. I'll check.

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  9. Saint Linda (Ermelinda) was a Belgian girl who lived as a solitary, dedicating her whole life to God alone.

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  10. Henry - one of my friends - a trad Catholic gave his son the baptismal name of Trajan. It's a saints name and he also likes the story of the Emperor St. Gregory redeemed by his prayers.

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  11. Adrienne - Ashley's patron can be the English martyr Ralph Ashley d.1606.

    Got a name? I'll find the saint.

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  12. Anonymous7:01 PM

    Before our first son was born, my husband and I had many discussions about what to call him (I knew instinctively it was a boy). My fave was Richard, but he rejected it as "too English", so we agreed on Carl (St. Charles Borromeo) Gregory (the Great). The second one was a bit easier: Timothy Joseph (the Joseph was after my Dad, who died a month before Tim was born. It was Dad's middle name too). But I've heard some dillies among the kids Carl and Tim went to school with -- soap opera names like Kaylie, Sable and Jenna -- but the weirdest was Destiny, if you can believe that. I think BXVI was right on the mark with his remarks. This whole business of "unusual" names has gotten way out of hand.

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  13. Terry, I think you are right, we can find a saint for about any name. And even if one doesn't have a canonized saint's name, you can always pick one to be your patron.
    The thing parents need to remember is, the kid has to go through life with his or her name. If they pick one that's too off the wall, the child may dislike it. You can create a problem where there didn't need to be one. My pet peeve? Picking ugly last names for little girls' first names (I actually knew of one named Trotwood).

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  14. Oh Lawdie, this is one subject that always gets me onto the soap-box.
    Parents, please don't give your child the surname of someone you are NOT related to, or are not trying to honor - it comes off pretentious as hell.
    Parents, please keep in mind that the child's socio-economic background is revealed (99% of the time) by his given name.
    How well I remember the days of arrogant obnoxious Irish-American priests, lying thru their teeth, telling the baptisimal party that Church law demanded a saint's name. (in one case an ordained ignoramus refusing the name "Kevin"). Nowadays, I almost wish they would go back to that lie (it never was Church law) so that RC babies would be spared so many silly, soap-opera names.

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  15. Anonymous - I wouldn't be too quick to discount Destiny as a name if one uses it in the light of this from Paul's letter to the Ephesians:

    "God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love, having destined us to be his children through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace" (Eph 1:3-6).

    Jenna is a transliteration of either St. Gemma or Genevieve which is the French version of Jennifer.

    Kaylie is obviously derived from Kathleen or Catherine.

    Sable is actually an Ethiopian Christian name - for whom there is a patron saint - St. Sabina of Samos.

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  16. Sorry - 'for which there is a patron saint - St. Sabina'.

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  17. I noticed on Dr. Peters blog:

    http://canonlawblog.blogspot.com/

    That he mentions his mother's name is Nancy and the priest who baptised her said it wasn't a saint's name so he added the name Mary.

    Nancy is a derivative of a saint's name however - it can be for St. Ann or for St. Anthony - the feminine of which is Antoinette, the French may have other saints Nancy can be traced to.

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  18. Dweezil and Moonunit Zappa...

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  19. Terry, Anne is a derivative of Hannah, as in the Old Testament prophetess, which means Grace. Therefore, Nancy Grace's name is redundant.

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  20. Also, I can attest to the truth of Dr. Peters statement; my aunt and uncle were given saints names, rather than the abbreviated forms of those names that my grandma wanted to use. The nuns overruled her.

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  21. Who the hell would be so cruel to name their child TROTWOOD?! That shouldn't even be allowed!

    Terry, I might call you on you for help if I do the Patron Saint Devotion next year - I could use a few new names and you are just a fount of knowledge!

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  22. Thank you very much for your post i am very interested in your points.

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  23. Nan - religious people are like that - which is my point - recall that St. Bernadette's superiors disimissed her name as a novel diminutive and called her Marie-Bernard instead. And yet we know her as St. Bernadette... and we venerate St. Bakhita using her African name.

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  24. Larry - I doubt the Zappas were presented for baptism, much less trained in any recognizable religion... But if they were - that would surely have been the time for the priest to exercise his duty of renaming the child with a saint's name.

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  25. Hey-oooo!
    Jenna is my daughter's birth mother. Them's fighting words.

    ;)

    I don't really care WHAT people name their kids, as long as they don't get Kryeatyv with the Sp'ellyng.
    Seriously, people.
    Enough with the apostrophes and y's.

    Here's the funniest site on baby names evah!

    http://www.notwithoutmyhandbag.com/babynames/

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  26. Does "Apple" have to be Christian? How about as used in the translation of the Old Testament?
    http://www.keyway.ca/htm2003/20031202.htm

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  27. Larry - I doubt the Zappas were presented for baptism, much less trained in any recognizable religion... But if they were - that would surely have been the time for the priest to exercise his duty of renaming the child with a saint's name.

    Is that your fancy way of saying you can't come up with related saints' names for those two?

    Hah! Gotcha! LOL!

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  28. Okay then Lar-Bear - I will do it!

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  29. The natural patron saint for Dweesil whould have to be, St. Dewi - or St. David, the patron saint of Wales.

    Moon Unit of course could have been named for Our Lady - who stands upon the crescent moon. If not, the child might claim as her patron the Irish monk St. Munnu. Naturally, the middle name - Unit - would be a derivitave of Unitas -in honor of Christ's prayer for unity amongst His followers.

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  30. You're good, Ter. Now go vote for me...

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  31. My oldest son also Terence. He is Afghanistan right now and your blog has helped me divert and distract myself while I wait for my baby to come home. Thanks, Maria

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  32. What about Puritan names like 'Praise-God Jones' and 'God-Is-My-Strength Smith'? I think Puritans were also the ones who popularized names like 'Faith' and 'Grace' and 'Hope' (really only works for girls, doesn't it?) in the English-speaking world. Funny thing is, this is exactly what all those Greek saints did - they just had names that meant something in their language (Theodoros, Athanasios, Anastasios, Hieronymos, etc.)

    Actually that's what all Biblical names are anyway, including the name of Our Lord Himself.

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