Modern Naming Ceremonies: Catholic Confirmation Names


In Catholicism, Confirmation is one of the Seven Sacraments (the other 6 being baptism, communion, confession, marriage, anointing the sick, and taking of holy orders [i.e., becoming a priest]). It is usually done in one's teens, when a person is old enough to make his own decisions. The rite is seen as a strengthening of the rites of baptism and communion; a coming of age ceremony in which a person is now able take responsibility for his own faith and destiny.

In many Catholic traditions, the person being confirmed chooses a new name, one to be added to his or her name (kind of like a second middle name). According to the Catholic Encyclopedia: the name is the name of a saint, chosen by the person to be confirmed and imposed by the bishop in Confirmation. Added to the Christian name, it gives the person confirmed a heavenly patron whom he should endeavor to imitate. A person being confirmed will have a sponsor, who will stand with the person while he or she is confirmed. Often a person chooses the name of his or her sponsor, a godparent, or a saint whom they admire.

Some Confirmation Names of the Rich and Famous:

Bela Lugosi (actor)- Adelbert
Camille Paglia (feminist writer) - Anastasia
Dominic Monaghan (actor) - Luke
James Joyce (writer) - Aloysius
Kate Bush (musician)- Mary
Kathleen Madigan - Mary
Loretta Young (actress)- Michaela
Madonna (musician)- veronica
Meg Ryan (actress)- Anne
Melissa Joan Hart (actress)- Catherine
Regis Philbin (tv host)- Xavier
Rosie O'Donnell (tv host)- Theresa
Siobhan Fahey (musician [Bananarama]}- Deirdre
Tara Lipinski olympic figure skater - Therese

Here are some Confirmation Names chosen by readers:

I had a lot of trouble choosing my confirmation name. I had it narrowed down to Scholastica, St. Benedict's sister, Agnes, a martyr, Blandina, a martyr, and Theresa, my mother's confirmation name. I eventually chose Agnes because she is a patron of young girls. I am the only person I know of with the confirmation name of Agnes.

My confirmation name was Brigid. I chose it because she is the patron saint of Ireland and I wanted to honor my grandmother who is Irish. It was also my great-great grandmother's name on that side of the family. I felt it was a good name to honor my family :)

My confirmation name is 'Cecilia', the patron saint of music and is considered a sort of muse to the arts and literature. I chose her because I love all of those things, and I also really like the name - it's so pretty!

I chose Christopher, since my first horse's name was christopher dawn...the bishop gave me the DIRTIEST look being a chick, taking a dude's name... it was awesome. my sister chose Ava, so that her initials became STAR. ha! We clearly took our confirmations *very* seriously.

My confirmation name is Denise. At the time I picked it, I was twelve, and my brother was ten. It was the name of our afternoon caretaker. She was one of those people who actually achieved that "love thy neighbor as thyself" commandment without coming off like a sanctimonious jerk.

My confirmation name was Jeanne....after Joan of Arc, I liked Joan of Arc but thought Joan was an old ladies name so I went with her name as it would have been in French, as I believe she was French.

my official confirmation name is Lisbeth, which is also the middle name my parents gave me at birth. It was supposed to be Morgan, thereby honoring a group of Irish martyrs with that surname. However, when it came time for the bishop to call out my name during the ceremony, he muttered "That's not a saint's name" and went with my middle name (somehow I suspect his hearing was off and he thought we said "Elizabeth," although as I just discovered Lisbeth is indeed a saint's name. And now after a google search I just discovered that Morgan is indeed the name of a saint, which really makes me pissed off.).

My confirmation name is "Mark", after Mark the Evangelist. I got the jump on the other kids in CCD and made up mind when my sister received her confirmation. She's four years older than me, so I'd guess that I was around nine or ten when I decided on Mark. I remember having two reasons for choosing 1) my best friend was named Mark and had just transferred from my public school to a parochial school. Everyone called him "Bucko", but as far as I knew, there wasn't a St. Bucko. 2) I always thought that the lion, symbolizing Mark, over the alter was much cooler than the chicken, cow or man.

My confirmation name was Mary Magdelene. i chose it because it honored my great-grandmother who was named "mary" yet also had the whole edgy prostitute thing going on, which meant i got to use the word "whore" in an essay to the bishop.

I was going to take the name "Zita", because she was mummified, which I thought was cool. Later it turned out that she wasn't actually mummified, and that what people thought was her mummy was actually a silver reliquary. But when it came down to the line, I chose "Marie", because it was my grandmother's name, and the family insisted. The bishop misheard my sponsor, though, so I was actually confirmed "Maurice".

My confirmation name was Stephen...because everyone in my town that wasn't already named patrick, everyone picked Patrick...and my confirmation sponsor told me about St. Stephen, who was the first martyr for the church or I went with it...and was the only stephen.

My confirmation name is Veronica. I chose it for two reasons: my mom and sister both used it as their confirmation name, and I thought it was a very cool-sounding name. If it weren't a cool-sounding name, I don't think I would have chosen it solely on the "family connection." I'd like to think I'd be a little more freethinking than that. ;)

When I was baptized, my parents flew down to Kentucky, where my grandmother and namesake lived, and her brother, who was a priest, baptized me. For some reason that nobody to this day has figured out, he went about it by saying, "I baptize thee, Virginia..." instead of my grandmother's and my own name. My parents frantically stopped him, and he resumed the ceremony and it went on without a hitch. Flash forward 15 or so years. When I'm going down a list of all the female saints I admire - Joan of Arc, Catherine of Siena, Theresa the Little Flower, and the BVM herself - I notice that all of them are virgins. Virginia is even, I believe, a title given to Mary. The state of Virginia was named after The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth I - not Catholic, but unquestionably an admirable woman! Then when I consider the funny story of my baptism, I decide to just cash in on the family joke. Perhaps Uncle Deke was having a premonition about me. Who knows?

Would you like to add your Confirmation Name story? Send an email to xliontamer at with the word "catholic" in the subject line!

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