The Armchair Liturgist: Saints’ Names 2010

Evangelization hums along pretty well in your parish. Your colleague, the RCIA director, speaks with you about this year’s crop of catechumens. A good group, you hear, but with the possible taint of heresy.  That perks your ears. You’ve been asked to include this list of names into the Vigil’s Litany of Saints.

Take the Purple Chair and render judgment. Which names make the Easter Vigil cut this year? Who is sent back for a middle name or a patron saint? Here’s the list:


Who’s a saint? A pretender? A heretic? Have any names of your own to offer up?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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5 Responses to The Armchair Liturgist: Saints’ Names 2010

  1. These ones seem problematic…


    The one’s associated with heresies were all named after earlier saints, so as long as they haven’t actually picked them in honor of the heretic, the heresies were named after men named after earlier saints.

  2. sd says:

    I assume that the rubrics say that only people mentioned in the Roman Martyrology can be mentioned in the Litany of Saints? If so, I’d tend to err on the side of adherence to the liturigical norms and nix these names if they are not so mentioned.

    I suppose a more liberal interpretation would be that if these are relatively common names we can be mostly (but not entirely) sure that there is somebody in Heaven with these names, even if its not the “most famous” person carrying the moniker.

    “Arian” though – that’s just askin’ for trouble.

  3. Liam says:

    Amadeus -OK
    Elvis-Elvin, anyone?
    Miles-Not quite sure there was a St Milos….
    Minerva-I don’t think this counts as a name derived from a title of Mary (Maria Sopra Minvera is a title of the location of a particular church, not a title of Mary as such) the way Pilar does, example

  4. Jim McK says:

    Legitimacy is a funny thing. Is Christopher allowed, even if there never was a Christopher?

    So I would accept Minerva, just as Rome accepted the site of her cult. Even if it means ‘Mary over Minerva’.

    I listened to my pastor try to convince a confirmation candidate to choose Martin of Tours, or Martin de Porres, rather than Martin Luther.

    And then there was a woman who wanted to take ‘Wendy’, in honor of her deceased sister. As currently used, it was derived by JM Barrie from the lisp of a young friend who could not say ‘friend’. Used for the maturing sister in Peter Pan, the name caught on. But there are lots of welsh names starting with ‘gwen’ (= white, clear, or pure) that seem like fine alternatives. I cannot remember if I found a St Gwendolyn, but that would justify Wendy I think. And there is a great story of Wanda of Cracow, but she was a princess, not a saint. So I am unsure about Wendy, except that the motivation was pure, the principle of friendship good, even if the history is uncertainly Christian. “I have called you fwiends.”

  5. Liam says:

    The “demotion” of Christopher from the Universal Calendar is not a statement that he never existed, in case you are wondering. There has been a trend since Trent, actually, to focus on greater historicity in the martyrology and calendar, but I’m not sure that Christopher has been removed from the martyrology yet.

    Wendy is also a nickname for Gwendolyn.

    Not convinced about the rationale for Minerva, though; it’s not Lourdes, Fatima or Pilar – it’s not Our Lady of Minerva. Rather it’s the church of St Mary, over Minerva; different category – the title is of the church building, not Mary.

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