NAMES, CHRISTIAN. Names given to individuals at their baptism. The custom of giving the name of a saint when a person is baptized goes back to the earliest days of the Church. It is required by ecclesiastical law and means that the saint whose name is chosen becomes a special patron to protect and guide and be the heavenly intercessor for the one who bears his or her name.
(It is no longer required by Canon Law that a Saint's name be given. The Johannine Code says simply, 'Can. 855 Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to take care that a name foreign to Christian sensibility is not given'.-JW)