A timeless name that's often shortened to Jake. It's also associated with Jacob's Well in Nablus, on the West Bank, where Jacob is said to have camped and built an altar. It is also the site in John's Gospel where Jesus met with the Samaritan woman, making it a popular site for pilgrims. It's an ageless name that also honors a biblical hero.
A popular boys' name throughout the years, it is full of meaning for Catholics. St. Thomas Mount in India is a shrine that honors the Apostle Thomas. After Jesus' crucifixion, St. Thomas is believed to have gone to India to spread the Gospel. The shrine is where he is said to have had a little hermitage and where he was martyred by bow and arrow. Pope John Paul II visited the shrine in 1986, demonstrating its importance to the Church.
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An unusual name that hails back to the Old Testament, Hebron is also a place in the Judaean mountains south of Jerusalem, home to the Cave of the Patriarchs, where key biblical figures such as Abraham and Isaac are said to be buried. Pilgrims flock to the city partly due to its connection with Abraham, who was the perfect example of what it is to believe in God. A great choice for those who love tradition.
For lovers of all things Scandinavian, why not opt for a shortened version of the name Kirkkokari, a small island in Finland, which is the country's only Roman Catholic pilgrimage site? Tradition has it that St. Henry was murdered on the lake next to the island in 1156. The island houses a memorial for the Christianization of Finland and every year the Church organizes an 87-mile long pilgrimage to the site. Kirk is actually the Scandinavian word for "church."
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Ireland is full of locations associated with its patron saint, the 5th-century missionary and bishop, St. Patrick. One particular site is Croagh Patrick, a mountain in County Mayo that draws many Catholics wanting to venerate the poplar saint. Known as Ireland's holiest mountain, it marks a site where St. Patrick fasted for 40 days back in 441 A.D. Your own Pat, Paddy, or even Padraig would be off to a cracking start in life with such a powerful intercessor to call on.
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Not only is Jericho thought to be the oldest city in the world, it is next to the Mount of Temptation, where Jesus was tempted by the devil after he fasted for 40 days. it is an area steeped in history, and dotted along the facades of the mountain are little caves that monks turned into cells until they had to escape the Persian invasion of 614. While "Jerry" might be easier to use, Jericho is a worthy name for any little boy.
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The much loved Italian friar has his own pilgrimage site. A more modern place of pilgrimage, the Sanctuary of St. Pio of Pietrelcina attracts millions of faithful every year wanting to visit the shrine of the Capuchin friar. The name is a great choice for those with a penchant for anything Italian, and it means "pious."
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You could pay homage to the first bishop of Rome by naming your son after St. Peter's Basilica, one of the most important Catholic pilgrimage sites. The first bishop of Rome was actually buried on the site where the Basilica is located today, and of course it's where pontiffs, past and present, have presided over many liturgies. Hopefully your own little Peter will be a rock to your own family.
Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA
The rural village of San Sebastián de Garabandal in Northern Spain is a popular pilgrimage site for those wanting to visit Mount Carmel, where Our Lady and St Michael the Archangel appeared to four schoolgirls in the 1960s. Although the Church hasn't actually sanctioned these apparitions, the local bishop has allowed pilgrimages to take place. Since St. Sebastian is the patron saint of soldiers, your little boy might love to grow up with a name that brings to mind strength and courage.
Lourdes Cardenal | CC BY-SA 3.0
St. Andrews in Fife, Scotland, is named after the Apostle Andrew, who apparently found his way there thanks to God's direction. The impressive ruins of St. Andrew's Cathedral, built in 1158 and said to have been the largest church ever built in Scotland, make for a wonderful pilgrimage. Andrew is a perfect choice of name for those who want to give a nod to Scotland (and the brother of St. Peter).