#PopeInUS: Sancta Nomina represented!

Our faithful reader Grace had the great blessing of being able to see Pope Francis in New York City! She emailed me with her impressions, and some photos:

Hi Kate!!    

I just thought that you would like to hear about my experience seeing Pope Francis today! First off, I’ve never felt so blessed to wait 4 hours in line to see someone. I would do it again right now even though my feet are killing me. I have to say, one of the best moments happened before Pope Francis drove by. I ended up talking to some strangers in the crowd, which is something I NEVER do and I met one of the most amazing women ever. Her name is Margaret Therese and my word, she is just a woman of God. She just shines this light to you when she talks. She told us about an experience she had when she truly felt the presence of God and it brought me straight to tears. I just want to be her when I’m older. She ended up giving me a medal that was blessed by Pope John Paul II. I don’t think I’m ever taking it off from the chain around my neck (I’ve attached a picture). When Pope Francis finally drove by, my heart stopped. I started crying immediately. I was far away, as you can see in the pictures, but that didn’t matter. This was one of the most amazing moments of my life. My goodness, the light of God that shines through Pope Francis is just crazy. I still can’t believe that I was so blessed to get to see him while he was here in America and get to see surrounded by such amazing people!
God bless you, 
Grace

Can’t you just hear it? The enthusiasm, the love, the grace that’s so often the marker of pilgrimages, holy events, or other similar encounters with, as Grace said, “the light of God” shining through. If there’s a thin veil that separates us, it’s almost as if it’s made extra-sheer in those places, with those people. I’m moved to tears myself for Grace, for her experience.

Check out her pictures:

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The beautiful medal given to Grace by her new friend Margaret Therese, which had had been blessed by St. John Paul II
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I love the lady climbing up the lamppost in this one.
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Papa!

Thanks to Grace for sharing her experience and her pictures with us, and if any of the rest of you were in DC, NYC, or today/tomorrow in Philly and have experiences and/or photos to share regarding Pope Francis’ visit, feel free to send them on to me!

#PopeInUS: Family saints, Mother Mary, Jim Gaffigan

That Pope Francis. ❤ To Congress: “Thank you for the lunch invitation! But I’ll be eating with the homeless.” To the Little Sisters of the Poor: “I’m with you, Sisters.” To John Boehner: “I’m gonna make you CRY.” To America: “Let me refer to you as the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.’ Let me refer to your important and beloved people.” To the United Nations: “In all countries, in light of all issues, real people need to come first, with a special care needed for the poorest.” That man. ❤

Name-wise, did you see that the World Meeting of Families, which Pope Francis will be attending in Philadelphia tomorrow, has a listing of Saints for the Family? So many of our very favorite saints and very favorite names:

Pope St. John Paul II
St. Gianna
Mary, Undoer of Knots (Pope Francis has a special devotion to her)
St. Joseph
St. John Bosco
St. Anne (our very own)
St. Joachim
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Raphael

Speaking of Mary, Undoer of Knots … I’m dying to talk about that other Marian name we were all atwitter about yesterday: Maristella! Several of you said you’d never heard of it before, and I hadn’t either until someone suggested it for Simcha’s baby. (I don’t agree with that commenter’s husband though — despite the fact that it’s technically an Italian variant, as I actually shared with the mama of Maristella “one of the things I love about [the Irish] naming style, especially historically (perhaps less so now), is their heavy use of saints’ names of all cultures/ethnicities.” I know of Irish girls/ladies named Maria (read that only if you want to cry your eyes out), Jacinta, Lucia, Gemma, Philomena … and there’s not a huge amount of difference between Maristella and Isabella, which is used by all sorts of Americans=diverse ethnic backgrounds … anyway. Rant over!) So of course it’s a version of Stella Maris=Star of the Sea and — so cool! — the UK’s Apostleship of the Sea has Stella Maris Masses several times right around now! The pic I posted to Instagram for Maristella is a particularly lovely one too.

And speaking of five children (because our Maristella is one of five, nice segue right?! 😉 ) … Jim Gaffigan (who has five children–>there’s the connection!) is performing at the World Meeting of Families for an audience of over a million people that might possibly include Pope Francis. Wha??? Jim’s got great, solid, saintly names for his kids in real life:

Marre (very intrigued by this one … a user-submitted entry on Behind the Name says it’s a Swedish diminutive of Maria, Martin, and other Mar- names, and that it’s pronounced MAHR-ah … do any of you know anything more/different?)
Jack
Katie Louise
Michael
Patrick

And for his kids on his show:

Elizabeth
Mary
James
Joseph
Daniel (? not sure on this one; I know it’s also the name of an adult character)

(If anyone knows Jim or his wife Jeannie, feel free to point them in my direction — I’d LOVE to chat with them about their names!)

And that’s my name-related Pope Francis wrap-up for today! (I know you love how I made a whole big name post out of the Pope’s visit. 😀 )

#PopeInUS: Siblings and a new saint

So yes, I’m going to be posting a lot of Pope stuff in the next few days!

The first exciting thing is: Today’s the day Blessed Junipero Serra will be canonized! Woooo!!!! You can read his name spotlight here.

Second, my mom was telling me about Pope Francis’ siblings’ names the other day, and I love them all:

María Elena
Alberto Horacio
Oscar Adrián
Marta Regina

And of course he himself was Jorge Mario. His parents were Mario José and María Regina.

I think maybe Alberto Horacio isn’t quite ready for a comeback (but soon! I could see Albert being the new Arthur, which is getting some love recently. And there was a Horatio in my boys’ school for a few years — definitely ahead of the curve, as he’s in high school now), but the others are definitely not only Sancta Nomina style but broader-society style too I think. I mean, yes, they definitely have a Catholic spin — I can’t see just anybody choosing Regina for their daughter — but I could see Maria, Elena, Oscar, Adrian, Marta/Martha, and George (Jorge) on a whole bunch of different kinds of people. Mario too, while it *can* have a religious/Marian connotation if you want it to (and I want it to!), comes across as less Catholic and more ethnic (Italian or Hispanic) I think. (Mario Puso, Mario Lopez [who’s a Pope Francis fan! And he did name his son Dominic, so …].)

I love how PF’s mama gave her first name to one daughter and her second name to another, and I love that he has his dad’s first name as a middle name. But I’m kind of shocked — given their faith AND Papa Bergoglio’s middle name — that there’s no José among them!

What do you think of the Bergoglio sibs’ names? Which would you consider for your child, if any?

A gift for Pope Francis

I’ve mentioned before about my mom’s book and blog about the adventures of Finney the Leprechaun (who loves God and teaches the faith to little ones through rhyme). Today’s post had me dying with laughter, and it’s so appropriate to share it here because (1) it’s about Pope Francis’ U.S. visit, which begins today!! (2) It mentions names!

If you have little ones and can read it out loud to them, I know they’d love it (as will you). And it has fun and hilarious pictures too!

Do any of you know Pope Francis? (!!) Or do you know someone who does? I KNOW he would LOVE this post, please pass it on to anyone who may be able to point it in the right direction! It’s called “Papa!” ❤