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Anonymous Angelica wrote:

Hi, guys —

I have a question about the naming of individual churches.

For example, I know it's common for Catholic churches to be named for saints.

  • Is it also acceptable for churches to be named for archangels, like Saint Michael?
  • Are there certain naming conventions for Catholic churches that must be observed?

I know this is an odd question; I am a writer looking to name a fictitious church properly.

Angelica

  { Is it acceptable for churches to be named after archangels and are there naming conventions? }

Eric replied:

Angelica,

Yes, you can name churches after one of the three Archangels of the bible:

  • Gabriel
  • Raphael, and
  • Michael. (They are considered saints.)

You can also name a church after an event such as:

  • Holy Resurrection
  • Presentation of the Virgin Mary
  • Holy Transfiguration
  • Assumption of the Virgin Mary
  • Holy Annunciation
  • Ascension, etc.

They can be named after titles of saints, such as:

  • Our Lady of Perpetual Help or
  • Infant Jesus.

They can be named after multiple saints, such as:

  • Saints (Sts.) Cosmas and Damian, or
  • Holy Innocents.

They can be named after members of the Trinity:

  • Holy Trinity
  • Holy Spirit, although I've never seen one named after the Father.

They can even be named after Old Testament figures, but this is less common

  • St. Elias is probably the most popular example here.

I can't answer the question about specific rules; I expect there are some rules but it may be largely driven by tradition.

I guess the best way to go about this is to pick a name, add Catholic Church, and Google it to see if it comes up.

If it does, Congratulations, you have a name!

For example, I just discovered that there is a St. David Catholic Church in Florida, which I find interesting — a seemingly obvious name — but one that, nevertheless, I have never seen before.

Eric

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