Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Catholics Are Named After Saints

In the Catholic Church, if not other Christian denominations, children are given the names of saints – those people whose lives were such that they are worthy of emulation. Not unlike the secular world where we put up pictures of Washington, Lincoln and others in our schools for the same reason. Except in our case, it’s mandatory; first name or middle name has to be that of a canonized person.

Well, maybe it happens and maybe it doesn’t. What’s the odds that your mother chose to name you in honor of the great St. Joan when her absolutely favorite sister is also named Joan? Coincidence, huh?

My parents told me I was to be named in honor of the saint on whose day I was expected to arrive (strangely enough, the same name as my father’s youngest brother, huh), but I came early and it was a strange African saint. So they chose their closest friends for my first and middle names: Tom Bowe and his brother.

The idea is we are under the protection of the saint we are named for. Let me tell you: I can use all the protection they have to give. I just don’t know which Thomas it is. Doubting Thomas, the Apostle? Thomas Aquinas, the fat intellectual? Some other one?

No, it’s the newest Saint Thomas, Tom Bowe, father of my grammar school girlfriend Mary Ethel Bowe. He passed away Monday after having lost his sister and brother, his son and daughter. His wife survives.


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