” I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting”.
This month sees the launch of a series focussing on our Saints. We thought we would begin by describing how someone is honoured with this title.
Over the years, you may have read about their lives and perhaps wondered why we choose a particular Saint to whom we offer our prayers, asking them to intercede for us with Almighty God. Probably we have been inspired by their good works and by the way they lived their life. Simply, it is like asking a friend to pray to God on our behalf. The difference is that this friend is already in Heaven.
Why are Saints deemed to be intercessors for us? When the first public churches were being built during the Roman Empire, they were built over the graves of martyrs. The churches were subsequently named in memory of a martyr. He or she was then identified as an intercessor for the Christians who worshipped there.
When we pray the Apostles Creed, we say: …..I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. So when we say these words in reference to our Saints, we are acknowledging the spiritual fellowship and strong links which exists amongst all faithful Christians, both living and dead.
In the Catholic Church, we have Patron Saints. A church can be named after one because the Saint, when they were alive, may have lived in the area or had a connection to that particular place.
Later on, Christians began to dedicate churches to other holy men and women from other parts of the world.
Today, we still place a relic of a saint inside the altar of each church dedicating it to a Patron Saint e.g. St Joseph’s (pictured), St Mary’s, St Paul’s and so on.
As time progressed, Patron Saints were being linked to everyday life. For example, St Joseph had been a carpenter, so he is the Patron Saint for all carpenters.
St Christopher is the Patron Saint of travellers, guiding them safely on their journeys.
It can take many years of discussion and investigations before a Pope, together with his advisers decides that an individual is worthy of being called a Saint.
You might consider thinking about adopting a Patron Saint for your own family and to honour them at home during your prayers?