Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.
The patron of a sacred place, especially a church, whose name it bears. The patron of a church is normally chosen by the founders. Usually only one patron is chosen, or else two whose feast (if at all possible) falls on the same day. In general, the patron saint is the one under whose special protection a church has been placed. However, the titular name is a wider term, including also the persons of the Trinity, mysteries of the faith, angels, or any saint already canonized. The patron of a place is chosen by the people, and one locality may have more than one patron, principal and secondary. There cannot be more than one principal patron except by immemorial custom or special apostolic indult.