The Feast of the Annunciation gives us a moment to reflect on the moment the Virgin Mary was told she was to become the Mother of God. But it’s also the occasion to think of the joy of motherhood, the babies in our lives, and any little bundles that will be arriving soon.
One of the dilemmas Mary didn’t have to consider was what to call her child, as the Angel Gabriel instructed her to name him Jesus. However, for all other parents this is an issue that takes time and consideration — especially if you want a name that reflects your faith, and perhaps the time of year your baby is born.
So we’ve come up with a list of names appropriate for little boys during the Lenten period that are not only great classics, but come from great men of faith, too.
Bl. Charles the Good – March 2
Blessed Charles’ feast day fell on Ash Wednesday this year. This wise son of the King of Denmark was known for his holiness and compassion. In his reign, Charles fought off black market raiders and as a result was killed while praying in church. Although the name means “free man,” it is also the name given to many royal men, including King Charles I of Britain. It’s a classic choice that can be made into “Charlie” or even “Chuck.”
St. John of God – March 8
Although there are a number of saintly Johns celebrated at this time of the year, St. John of God is a good one to know about. He was a Portuguese soldier who became a health-care worker. The global institute of the Brothers Hospitallers of Saint John of God was founded by his followers to care for the sick, the poor, and those with mental conditions. The meaning of the name is “God is gracious.”
St. Patrick – March 17
The popular patron saint of Ireland is celebrated halfway through Lent. Patrick, meaning “noble” was taken from his family in Britain and brought to Ireland as a slave, where he turned to God. Although he did manage to escape, he returned later to Ireland as a missionary. It would be an honor for any boy to bear the name of this saint dubbed the “Apostle of Ireland.”
St. Joseph – March 19
Choosing to name your son after Jesus’ earthly father will surely set him on the right path. Joseph is celebrated as the husband of Mary in March, where his role as dutiful and loving husband and father is recognized. The name itself means “he will add” and no doubt your little Joseph, or Joe, will add much joy and love to your own family.
St. Nicholas of Flüe – March 21
This father of 10 became a hermit at the age of 50 with his wife’s blessing. Many flocked to him for counsel and eventually a chapel and cell was built for the devout Swiss who lived off the Holy Eucharist. With this name meaning “victory of the people,” your baby Nicholas, or Nick, should have a great start in life.
St. Paul of Narbonne – March 22
This 3rd-century saint was a missionary, dubbed an “apostle to the Gauls.” He was very successful in his work and founded several churches in Narbonne in southern France. Meaning “small” or “humble,” Paul is a name that captures one of the virtues of the Catholic faith, and is shared with other great men of faith, such as St. Paul the Apostle.
St. Henry Warpole – April 7
Described as one of the Forty Martyrs of England, Henry was a Catholic convert who entered the Jesuits in Rome. When he was sent to England, he was arrested and placed in the Tower of London, where he endured 14 grueling torture sessions. He was eventually martyred for refusing to swear an Oath of Supremacy that stated Queen Elizabeth I had religious authority. The name Henry actually means “house ruler,” which will hopefully bode well for your own household!
St. Benedict Joseph Labré – April 16
This poor saint knew what it was like to be rejected. The eldest of 18 siblings, he’d tried to join a number of religious orders, but was refused each time. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop him living his faith. The Frenchman went on a long pilgrimage before ending up in Rome. There he was known as the “beggar of Rome” but spent his time living his faith, with a devotion to the Eucharist, and taking part in the Forty Hours devotion. His name has belonged to a number of popes and saints in the Church. Meaning “the blessed one,” the name will no doubt bless a new son.