I spent the first couple decades of my life as a Catholic. That was the dogma that my parents chose for me. They, for the most part, were not “real” Catholics but for whatever reason they thought that we kids should be. One of the things I thought was kind of neat about being a Catholic was that there seemed to be a patron saint for almost anything you could think of.
In some ways the Catholic church is kind of like their Jewish bretheran in that they have a strict list of rules for things like making saints as the Jews have for eating food. Here is some of Wikipedia says about that:
A patron saint or a patron hallow is a saint who in some Christian denominations is regarded as the tutelary spirit or heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person. Patron saints, having already transcended to the metaphysical, are believed to be able to intercede effectively for the needs of their special charges.
The words give you an indication just how serious those folks are about their saints. Just having people say “isn’t he a saint” doesn’t hack it. They got rule after rule about the process. I guess that kind of makes sense as they got to have something for all those cardinals and such to do in Vatican City.
One of my personal favorite patron saints is Jude – The Apostle. He is the patron saint of lost causes. If I am anything it is an advocate for many lost causes. Things like gun control and universal healthcare for the U.S. are among that list. Jude who is generally identified with the name Thaddeus in gospel accounts but he was also identified by a half-dozen other names and some even claimed he was a brother of Jesus. Maybe just trying to figure out his real name was a lost cause? 🙂 Identifying just who is who seems to be a major problem with many of these folks when it come to things in the Bible. Too many fingers in the pot I suppose.
In my studies I never really understood how he came to be attached to lost causes but I did find out that he is also the patron saint for the Chicago Police Department and a Rio de Janeiro soccer team. One of his namesakes is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which has helped many children with terminal illnesses and their families since its founding in 1962.
Like almost all patron saints he has his own feast day on October 28. Since that is also my birthday maybe that is another reason he is my favorite. He has a long standard prayer that you are supposed to recite when you pray to him. Catholics are very good at putting people between us and God but at least they give us standard prayers to pray to them with. Lord knows we would probably have problems making up our own words. 🙂