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Catholic Activity: Namedays

Parents should choose a good Christian name for each child, and yearly celebrate the feast day of their child's patron saint.

DIRECTIONS

Another feast day has fallen more and more into oblivion, and that is the celebration of the feast of our patron saints, in other words, our feast days. Alas, instead of choosing the names of the saints which are given to us by the Church as our patrons, as our big brothers and sisters, our protectors and intercessors — more and more people choose names of their own invention which have no relationship to Christianity. I know of one young mother who called her little daughter in honor of her own alma mater, "University of Texas"; I know another family who gave one of their boys the name of the place where they had a summer cabin; and a third one of our acquaintances called their little child, hoping it would make her a musician, "Melody."

This is a good moment for us parents to make an examination of conscience — by what principles do we choose the names of our children? Do we think of the saint, or do we think of the sound of the name, or are we persuaded by the fact that the godfather or the godmother might be offended if we didn't choose his or her name, although we really don't care much for it? It is a heavy responsibility to choose one of the greatest spiritual beings for the guidance and protection of our children.

The day of the patron saint is celebrated on a somewhat smaller scale than a birthday. The gifts have some relation to the patron saint — books, pictures, legends pertaining to him are collected throughout the years. Again the feast-day child has his own say about the evening's program.

Activity Source: Around the Year with the Trapp Family by Maria Augusta Trapp, Pantheon Books Inc., New York, New York, 1955

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