Saint's name

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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.[1] 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.

In some countries, the saint's day of the person's name is celebrated as a birthday is in other countries. A child may also be named after the saint whose feast is the child's birthday.


The term Christian name (first name) originates with the pagans of Europe who discarded their pagan names for Biblical ones when they converted to Christianity and participated in baptism.


  1. ^ Dues, Greg (2000). Catholic Customs & Traditions. Twenty-Third Publications. ISBN 0-89622-515-1.