New CatholicMom article: Unmistakably Catholic Boy Names!

If you haven’t already, be sure to read my Mother’s Day post — there’s a giveaway! It ends tonight at midnight (Eastern time), so just a couple hours left! I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. 😊

My May CatholicMom.com article posted today, and I thank you all for helping me with it in that recent post I did! Your help was invaluable! Check out the final result: Unmistakably Catholic Boy Names

catholicmom_screen_shot-05.17.17

A few thoughts on the new name stats from the SSA

If you haven’t already, be sure to read my Mother’s Day post (there’s a giveaway)!

I think one of the things I loved the most about the Social Security Administration releasing the 2016 name stats last Friday was seeing how excited Abby from Appellation Mountain was! That morning on Facebook she revealed how she’d been refreshing the SSA site all morning in hopes they’d finally updated it … then when they did she pretty immediately posted a video of her talking about the results (she mentioned some names I’ve had discussions about recently, like Matteo and Shepherd), and has posted a couple great articles analyzing the results:

Most Popular Baby Names – May 2017 Update (mostly discussion of the new-not-new top ten)
Top 100 Baby Names May 2017 Update

I also really enjoyed these from the Baby Name Wizard:

America’s Fastest-Rising Boys’ Names: Feel the Force
The Fastest-Rising Girls’ Names of The Year

And found this one (also from BNW) really interesting:

Caitlyn at the Crossroads: The Fastest-Falling Baby Names of the Year

Laura starts out by saying, “At first glance, this wholesale retreat from a familiar name may seem to be a rejection of Jenner’s new public identity,” which was exactly what I would assume it to be, but I also appreciated that she pointed out, “The name was sliding out of fashion, and it’s easiest to move the public in a direction it’s already heading.” She also makes the good point that, “The name itself was the story, announced with a flourish in a ‘Call Me Caitlyn’ magazine cover, the choice of name debated and analyzed” — a million percent yes! — but then argues, “The result was inevitable Caitlyn fatigue,” which I strongly disagree with. I would characterize the fact that the name was already “sliding out of fashion” as name fatigue; I would describe what happened in the wake of Caitlyn Jenner (which Laura herself called a “wholesale retreat”) as name train wreck. Take a look at these numbers:

caitlyn_et_al-2016
From https://www.ssa.gov/oact/babynames/rankchange.html

This screenshot is from the newest statistics, and they’re listed in order of greatest amount of decrease to least amount of decrease, so these four names were the four biggest drops of all the girls’ names in use in the U.S. I was amazed to see this! I mean, all four of those variants were well into the top 1000 (except Kaitlynn, which was hovering on the line), and all four dropped out of the top 1000 in one year.

To be fair, I tried to find the decrease stats from last year, to see if this isn’t as big a deal as it looks like to me, and found a post Nancy had done that showed Isis as the biggest loser in 2015, having dropped 1065 spots, but in the top ten biggest decreases were also Annabell (500 spots), Anabel (500 spots), Anabella (333 spots), and Anabelle (272 spots), which I thought were good parallels for the Caitlyn names, since they were also four variants of the same name, and all dropped similar amounts to the Caitlyn names — in fact, not to get all math-y, but I did the math and the four Caitlyn names dropped a cumulative 1787 spots (averaging 446.75 each), while the Annabell names dropped a cumulative 1605 spots (averaging 401.25 each). This might not seem like anything except that Nancy noted, “nearly every single variant of Annabelle was negatively affected by the horror film Annabelle, released in late 2014.” So Caitlyn’s no Isis, but had a similar effect as a horror movie. Oh dear.

(For the record, I still love the name.)

(There are also other variants of both names lower down in the decrease list, I just focused on those in the top ten.)

(Also interesting in light of our Damien discussion is that until now I hadn’t heard a whisper of that horror movie, despite having freely and frequently suggested Annabel(le) to parents on the blog and in private consultations.)

I’m also not sure I agree with this point, which I’ve seen a lot of other people say as well: “Finally, consider that the Caitlyn gazing out of that famous magazine cover was 65 years old. Caitlyn became popular as a fresh, youthful twist on Catherine and Kathleen. The new standard-bearer for the name helped age it in a hurry.” I just don’t see the name Caitlyn as having aged at all, I still see it as a young-ish name that is now worn by a 67 year old, which is as jarring to me as hearing other names that were similar in popularity to the Caitlyn names during the Caitlyn names’ peak (1990s), like Lindsey and Kristen, on a grandmother. Do you agree?

Otherwise, I took a look through the rest of the changes (changes in increase as well as decrease, and those that stayed the same), which I found to be the most interesting part of the statistics, and didn’t find anything as interesting as Aranza and Mon(t)serrat of 2014 except for Mercy for the girls — it’s no. 21 on the list of girls’ names that rose the most, having increased 222 spots from out of the top 1000 to well in it (new no. 731) and all I think is: Jubilee Year of Mercy! 😍 Zaylee also increased 177 spots to no. 813 (which may be due to St. Zelie?), and Regina, Rosemary, Juniper, Clementine, Mabel, Colette, Edith, Siena, Livia, Adelaide, Aurora, Helen, Felicity, and Gianna caught my eye from those names that increased in popularity.

For the boys Augustine went up 87 spots to no. 728, Santiago went up 21 to no. 106 (what? I had NO idea it was that popular!), and Thaddeus, Matthias, Conrad, Fisher, Gilbert, Bennett, George, Oliver, Henry, Jasper, Harold, Oscar, and Roman (which is new to the top 100) all jumped out at me as well.

On the decrease list, Guadalupe, Madeleine, Lola, Catherine and Katherine and Kate, Genevieve, and Mary stood out to me for girls, and Blaise, Mohammed, Damien (though still a top 300 name) and Damian (though still not too far from top 100), Myles, and Jude for boys.

Also Sylvie is up while Sylvia is down, which seems right to me based on where the collective taste seems to be at the moment. Do you agree?

Did any of the rest of you wait on pins and needles for this new info? Did you find anything exciting or disappointing? Any other thoughts/analyses?

Catholicky Catholic boy names

A couple of weeks ago I posted my CatholicMom article for April in which I list the girl names I think are unmistakably Catholic (i.e., when people hear the name, they usually know right away that the child is Catholic), as well as those that are super duper Catholic but might not translate immediately that way due to other associations.

I’ve been trying to put together a similar list for boys — I’ve had my notebook open on the table all week, ready for me to jot down my ideas — but I feel like I’m falling short! Like my mind isn’t focusing the way I want it to! So you all definitely have to add your ideas in the comments.

This is what I have for obviously Catholic boy names (audience: USA broadly; northeast specifically [because that’s where I am and that’s what I know, but I’d love to hear all about your experiences]):

John Paul
Benedict
Francis, Francisco, Francesco
Anselm
Ambrose
Ignatius
Juan Diego
Rosario
Patrick
Dominic
Stanislaus

And these are names that ARE very, traditionally Catholic, but aren’t as obvious to as many people as the above names because they have decent usage in other areas:

Gabriel
Jude
Xavier (this one I wavered on … it might be better placed in the above list)
Augustine (mostly because there’s a Protestant school near me called St. Augustine’s)
Clement
Michael
Joseph
Thomas
The other apostles’ names (and really, all the biblical names)

Some I thought of including in one list or the other but decided not to:

Joachim (most people don’t know what this name even is!)
Tiber (ditto)
Polycarp (same)
Tarcisius (same)
Athanasius (I almost included this on one of the other two lists …
thoughts?)

I feel like I’m missing a bunch of obvious ones and it’s driving me nuts! Help me out!

Names for the Joyful Mysteries

The sun is shining here today, and it’s warm-ish, and I’m feeling a bit better, so the Joyful Mysteries are perfect for today. Also since it’s Saturday, one of the days they’re actually said on! Please feel free to add more ideas in the comments.

Sancta Nomina

Yesterday was one of my very favorite feast days and the first of the Joyful Mysteries, which makes today the perfect Tuesday to post names associated with them! And also, Dwija’s little Helenwas discharged from the NICU yesterday and is home with her family, happy and thriving. Joy all around!!

Today’s post is a continuation of my Mysteries of the Rosary series, having already done names for the Sorrowful and Glorious Mysteries, and your comments have been invaluable — keep them coming!

These are the Joyful Mysteries (read more here) (and here’s how to pray the Rosary):

The Annunciation by Gabriel to Mary (yesterday’s feast!)
The Visitation of Mary to Her Cousin Elizabeth
The Nativity of Jesus
The Presentation of the Baby Jesus in the Temple
The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple

Names associated with the Joyful Mysteries might include:

Girls

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Names for the Luminous Mysteries

Up today: names for the Luminous Mysteries! Despite (or probably partly because of) all that we have going on here, I’ve been out for the count with strep for the last two-and-a-half days, ugh. That makes twice this winter I’ve been sicker than I’ve been in years. Anyway! I’m not feeling very luminous, but I do love these names. What would you add to them?

Sancta Nomina

Today marks the last post in our Mysteries of the Rosary series as we conclude with the Luminous Mysteries!

I know I went out of order, but it all made so much sense: I posted the Sorrowful Mysteries during Holy Week; the Glorious during the octave of Easter; the Joyful the day after the Feast of the Annunciation; and today’s Luminous Mysteries (also known as the Mysteries of Light), which were added to the Rosary during the Year of the Rosary by our beloved St. John Paul the Great in his beautiful Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae (October 16, 2002), come a day after the feast of St. Stanislaus of Cracow, to whom JP2 had a great and subversive devotion. If I can digress for a moment, this is one of my favorite JP2 stories:

A controversy arose [in Poland] over the proposed dates of John Paul II’s visit…

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Names for the Glorious Mysteries

Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door yesterday to invite me to a “celebration of Jesus’ death” this coming Tuesday. Apparently they don’t celebrate Easter — how can they deal with His death without the hope and promise of the Resurrection? Anyway, I’m glad to re-post about the Glorious Mysteries names today, and I hope you’ll add in any other names you can think of that can fit.

Sancta Nomina

It’s Easter Tuesday!! Hallelujah and hurrah!! ❤ 😀 ❤

It’s the perfect Tuesday to continue the Mysteries of the Rosary series with a post about names for the Glorious Mysteries! If you remember, last week I posted about Sorrowful Mystery Names, and you were all so great with your comments! Lots of good ideas there!

These are the Glorious Mysteries (read more here) (and here’s how to pray the Rosary):

The Resurrection of Our Lord
The Ascension into Heaven
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
The Assumption of Mary
The Coronation of Mary

Names associated with the Glorious Mysteries might include:

Girls

Assumpta, Assunta, Asunción — a traditional girl’s name referring to the Assumption

Anastasia — means “resurrection”

Corona — means “crown,” for Our Lady’s Crowning

Dominica, Dominique — from Dominic, which is from Latin for “of the Lord,” and was traditionally given to a baby born…

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Names for the Sorrowful Mysteries

A friend of mine from high school died last Friday, and though we weren’t close — in fact, until January I hadn’t seen him since our high school graduation twenty years ago, though we’d connected on Facebook a few years back — I had the privilege of seeing him a few times in the last couple of months, and seeing again his warm, thoughtful self and easy sense of humor, even in the midst of his worsening condition as a result of a tenacious brain tumor that they could never quite get all of. He left behind six children — his youngest the same age as my youngest — and so this week has been a heavy week. I was little more than an acquaintance at his wake and funeral, surrounded by his family and friends who had been a real part of his life without a twenty-year gap, and still … I’m so sad.

I’ve got a bunch of stuff going on here too — not bad, just busy — and I’m going to be off the blog all next week (except the Monday consultation) for Holy Week, so I thought these next four days would be perfect to re-share the Rosary Names series I did last year during Lent. I’m starting with the Sorrowful today, since that’s how I’m feeling. Please add any ideas you have in addition to those left in the comments last year!

Sancta Nomina

A few weeks ago Shelby suggested a post on names for the Mysteries of the Rosary, which I loved right away — what a great idea! So every Tuesday for the next four weeks, I’m going to post on a particular set of Mysteries, starting today with the Sorrowful Mysteries, which is so apt for Holy Week, and also for yesterday’s attacks in Brussels. Suffering Jesus, help us.

In case you need a refresher, these are the Sorrowful Mysteries (all referring to Jesus’ Passion and Death) (read more here):

The Agony in the Garden
The Scourging at the Pillar
The Crowing with Thorns
The Carrying of the Cross
The Crucifixion

And here’s how to pray the Rosary.

Shelby and Mary-Agnes both offered some ideas, and I’ve spent the last couple weeks jotting down some more as I thought of them — there are a good few!

Girls

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