Edmund: Oh, perfect. Maybe you have one of these names like I do where you have a hard time ordering coffee because I have this weird situation where it’s like, Edwin or Edman, is an Edmund? With an O or a U and I’m not really invested that much in the coffee that I want to have like a full conversation about how to spell my name. The shot looks great. I love this shot. It’s obviously your name’s really important or special to you, but there’s this tradition in the Church of taking on a saint’s name for Confirmation. And why do we do this practice?
Well, it’s obviously to make your coffee order much easier, which is why I chose the St. Rudolph Aquavivian. St Artaxus of Syrmium. St. Olaf the Thick. Okay, so no, the tradition of taking on Saint’s name is not to make your coffee order easier to kinda like say and work through that whole process. So the practice of taking on a saint name for Confirmation actually is a really special thing and it’s something that can help strengthen your relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. So Confirmation names can be a special part of the process of receiving confirmation. So you could choose a saint you connect with or look up to someone you aspire to be like, or you could choose a saint who is an intercessor for something you might need particular prayers for. So for instance, St. Michael the Archangel is patron saint of soldiers and the military, St. Christopher is patron saint of Travelers. Things like that. You could pick someone who, a saint who would provide specific prayers and intercessions for you and your situation. And this is a practice that takes some of its influence from this practice in the Bible of people being renamed. So for instance, Abram becomes Abraham or Saul gets renamed Paul and the Catholic encyclopedia even notes that as far back as the 1500’s in England, you can see records of people using Confirmation names to buy land. They could use their saint names in legal documents. In some places the Church seeks to preserve the link between Baptism and Confirmation by encouraging people to use their baptismal name at the moment of confirmation. The Catechism says in 1303, “Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace… It unites us more firmly to Christ; it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us, but it also renders our bond with the Church more perfect.
When the apostles received the Holy Spirit from Jesus at Pentecost, they were all gathered together. The Church was together in community. And in the same way, when we receive the sacrament of Confirmation, we receive this outpouring, this strengthening of the Holy Spirit that completes our baptismal grace. But we also received this strengthening of our bond with the Church, the community of believers in the body of Christ. And so in the same way like we can look to the saints to strengthen our relationship with Jesus, we can look to them as role models and by taking on a saint name, this is a practice that helps strengthen our bond with the Church and also reminds us that we are not doing discipleship with Jesus alone. Jesus is with you, but that relationship is with him and the body of Christ. But also the practice of taking on a saint name reminds us of this, that we are not doing this in isolation and we’re not alone.