||This article needs attention from an expert in Catholicism. (November 2008)|
A saint’s name is the name of a saint given to individuals at their baptism within the Catholic Church. The custom of giving the name of a saint originated in France and Germany during the Middle Ages. Although once required, it is no longer necessary to name the child after a saint as Canon 855 of the Code of Canon Law states "Parents, sponsors and parish priests are to take care that a name is not given which is foreign to Christian sentiment." It is believed that the saint whose name is chosen will serve as a special patron to protect, guide, and be the heavenly intercessor for, the individual who bears his or her name.
In some cases, parents may give both a saint's name and a secular name to a child, allowing them to use the saint's name for religious purposes and the secular name for all other purposes.