Young people prepare for the Sacrament of Confirmation in various ways. In addition to immersing themselves in religious studies and possibly attending a spiritual retreat, soon-to-be confirmands are asked to choose a saint's name under which they will be confirmed.
Patron saints serve as role models to confirmands as they continue their spiritual journeys. Choosing a saint's name is not something to take lightly. Some people associate with a particular saint because the name reminds them of a certain family member, while others relate to saints who have come to be known for standing for something specific in their faith. Certain saints may be the patron saint of a prospective confirmand's ancestral country, while others may be associated with a particular occupation the youngster hopes to one day pursue.
It is difficult to pin down the exact number of holy men and women who have been officially named as saints, and the true number is debatable, but various Catholic groups and theologians say there are more than 10,000 saints that the Catholic Church venerates. Regardless of the exact figure, confirmands have many special holy people who can serve as role models and guide them through both Confirmation and life.
To begin the selection process, think about a particular trait or skill you admire, and then research saints who may have possessed these traits. Otherwise, you can narrow down the list of saints by choosing a general category. If you aspire to be a teacher, choose a patron saint of educators, such as Saint Catherine. If you are enamored with a certain area of the world, like Scotland or Russia, choose Saint Andrew, who is the patron saint of these countries.
If a certain name has meaning to you, research the saint that bears that name and find out if you feel spiritually guided by what the saint did in his or her life. It's common for confirmands to want to pay homage to a lost relative or friend who shared the name of a particular saint. It is a way to be guided by two special people.
You also can pray to God and ask for guidance in choosing a saint. Spending time in prayer may provide you with greater clarity. Also, reading religious texts can shed light on the lives of many influential saints throughout history. Head to the library or a bookstore and visit the religion section. Chances are you can find a book of saints. An added benefit to such an approach is the opportunity to learn more about your faith and the figures who helped shape it.
If you need further assistance, speak with a clergy member at your church. A priest may have even more insight to share and can be a good resource to help guide you.