Q&A

What happened to confirmation names?

By November 3, 2014 16 Comments

Full Question

Could you explain the custom of taking a “confirmation name”? It seemed to be required when I was younger but I don’t think it is anymore.

Answer

The custom of adopting a saint’s name at confirmation was done in order to adopt the saint as a special heavenly patron or to honor a saint to whom one had a special devotion. In short, the purpose was to give the confirmand the opportunity to develop his understanding of and reliance on the communion of saints.
While the practice is still in use today, some dioceses have encouraged returning to the older tradition of not picking a new name at confirmation. The idea is that the person is already supposed to have a Christian name, given to him in baptism, and that continuing to use that name at confirmation will serve as a link between these two sacraments of Christian initiation.

16 Comments

  • Christian Catsanos says:

    The writers of these articles are American I take it – the practice is still the norm in Australia where I live; I’m guessing it’s much less so in the States 🙂

    • Dee Griswold says:

      I don’t know what state this is in, but in Florida my granddaughter made her Confirmation in April and took a name.

    • I live in Worcester. Massachusetts. I took a Confirmation name when I was confirmed in November.
      I took the name Columba. I liked how he lived his life and I hope to gain the same quality of faith that he had.

    • Dawn says:

      In NY they still choose a name so im not sure where this is taking place…. it was a wonderful part of being confirmed and i hope it never ends…

  • Sherri says:

    We’re in Missouri and our son took a name as well. I’ve never heard of not choosing except in the case of my husband coming into the Church. It was never offered

  • Hi Sherri I am newly confirmed I told the priest that I wanted a confirmation name. Glad I did.

  • Michael Madrazo says:

    Hmm. I’m from the Philippines, and I don’t remember taking a confirmation name. That said, I’m pretty happy with the saint my parents named me after. 🙂

  • sergio says:

    I wish I was given that wonderful option… Confirmed in 1993 in Texas.

  • Vandarose McNeil says:

    I am from Scotland and as far as I know we still choose a confirmation name over here. I chose Anne as she was the mother of our holy mother Mary and the grandmother of our Lord Jesus Christ, I am very proud of the name I chose x

  • Sue says:

    I disagree with this explanation. We were told that we should choose a saint that we admired to emulate as our own patron saint.

  • Optional in our parish, although most still take one.

  • Jim says:

    Still the practice here in NJ all of my children have their confirmation name.

  • Ruth Ferreri says:

    When the teens are confirmed they research and choose a name. For adults it has not been a requirement because of the reason above. My pastor has requested that in the future adult confirmation candidates choose a saints name.

  • noreenmary says:

    My daughter will be confirmed March 2015 and our parish no longer practices the taking of names.

  • Rose says:

    I was confirmed in july and everyone took a confirmation name.

  • I have seen a number of Confirmations of adults and don’t remember them every discussing taking a Confirmation name. We were at a VERY small Parish and Confirmation always took place during Mass. The teens who were Confirmed did take a name, but one of my faves was the young man who was so attached to the Saint from which his first name was taken, that he took it as a Confirmation name also…. of course, close friends of the family mentioned a lack of imagination.
    My son’s choice served to ‘correct’ a lapse that every Priest we’ve ever had has accused me…. he was born on St. Patrick’s Day, but I had chosen to name him for my brother and husband years before his birth… he always thought that St. Patrick’s celebrations were for him, so he took that name.

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