June 25, 2016


Saint who?

Religion Editor

Visit a Catholic church on All Saints Day, and part of the observance will include a litany of saints. It’s a beautiful chant inviting the saints to pray with those asking for help.

The litany opens with a petition to Mary and Joseph to “pray for us” and ranges to Wenceslaus, with a few tongue twisters like Chrysogonus, Origen and Athanasius between more common names like Felicity, Benedict and Catherine.

It’s a request for God’s mercy, protection from evil and resistance to sin, through Christ’s death and resurrection.

In what may seem like a fine line to some, it’s not a prayer to the saints, but a plea for them to pray with the people bringing a petition to Christ. The Catholic Online Web site compares it to asking a friend or family member to say a prayer in times of need or trouble.

With more than 10,000 of them, there are saints for every day of the year and then some.

Although the church may designate patrons for certain aspects of life, such as occupations, churches and countries, people often chose a patron they identify with, like a favorite aunt and uncle with a special talent you might ask for help.

o St. Denis is the patron saint of France.

o Ecologists receive the benevolent protection of St. Francis of Assisi.

o Before the reformation of the Roman calendar in 1969, travelers looked to St. Christopher for protection. His feast day was removed for lack of evidence; his sainthood arose from legends.

Although the story is unproven, the records show he died a martyr for his faith in the third century.