Birth announcement: Francis Leo!

I posted a consultation for Erin and her husband back in January, and Erin has let me know that her little green bean has arrived — a baby boy given the handsome name … Francis Leo!

Erin writes,

I wanted to just let you know baby is here!
We have another BOY!

Francis ‘Finn’ Leo was born February 22, 2018 weighing 8lbs 10oz and 22inches long!

After you sent the consult I went [and] looked more around your blog and came across a post about Francis and using the nickname Finn instead of the common Frank. It immediately spoke to me and I told my husband and he loved it! Since we loved Francis and really wanted that as a middle name because Frank just wasn’t our style Finn being a nickname option pushed us to make that his first name. (Francis is my paternal grandfathers middle name.) Then we thought about middle name. We wanted something to refer to my husband because our other boys all have a strong tie to my husband. My husband decided Leo would be perfect. Leo is his maternal grandfathers middle name. His grandfather passed away when his mom was young so my husband never met him.

Both Francis and Leo are such strong catholic names too. So many Saints to look up to!

He has such a special name. Thank you for helping us find the perfect name for our little man!

I’m SO EXCITED that Erin and her hubs are using Finn as a nickname for Francis! I love it so much! And Francis Leo is just such an amazing, saintly combo!

Congratulations to Erin and her husband and big sibs Caleb, David, Isaac, and Lucilia, and happy birthday Baby Francis “Finn”!!

Francis Leo with his family ❤

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Birth announcement: Leo Ignatius!

I posted a consultation for Arenda and her husband back in January, and Arenda has let me know that her little green bean has arrived — a little boy given the aMAZing name … Leo Ignatius!

Arenda writes,

I just wanted to let you know that we had a little baby BOY! He was born at home (which was planned) on Sunday morning, but sped into the world so quickly he was delivered by myself and Jeremy, whom I woke up 8 minutes before the baby was born (not planned!). But the Lord took care of us and all is well. We’ve named our little lad Leo Ignatius.

During my pregnancy, I’d been so sure that this little one was a girl, so I focused most of my baby name thoughts on girl names. When he was born and we found out he was actually a boy, I was totally shocked — and not sure about the boy name we’d chosen. I mentioned this to Jeremy (“To be honest, I’ve barely thought about baby boy names! I think I need some time before we decide!”), and so we talked about various names. Then we read through your baby name consultation again and, though I’ve suggested Leo several times before and Jeremy’s always said no, this time he loved it. We read a bit about Pope St. Leo the Great online (defender against heresy) and both agreed he would be a wonderful patron saint for our little lad. His middle name is for St. Ignatius. Like your husband, Jeremy read the letters of St. Ignatius early on in his journey to the Catholic Church, and found them very convicting.

Thanks again for your wonderful consultation, and for suggesting Leo — we love it! 🙂

PS — I attached a couple photos, one of our little sweetie, and one of what life with four little ones looks like most of the time! Haha! 🙂 “

Isn’t that a wonderful story?? I was so excited to read it! Leo Ignatius is such an amazing combo!

Congratulations to Arenda and Jeremy and big sibs James, June, and Alice, and happy birthday Baby Leo!!

Leo Ignatius with his big brother and sisters 😀 ❤

Birth announcement: Benjamin Peter!

I posted a consultation for Laura last summer, and an addendum a day later, and I’m delighted to share that she’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the so-handsome name … Benjamin Peter!

Laura writes,

Good morning, Kate!

I just wanted to let you know that we welcomed out little guy! He was born exactly six weeks ago today on January 12th. Name wise we went with out gut instinct — Benjamin Peter.

I’ve never really been one to name a baby in-utero, but this time around it’s almost as if he named himself. No matter what, we just kept coming back to Benjamin, and when I would talk to him I’d use his name. I just find Benjamin to be such a strong name but also so sweet. I love it’s Biblical roots and although it seems to be gaining popularity, I still feel like it’s not super common.

We chose Peter as the middle name as a nod to both my grandfather and father. My grandfather was born Pietro but when he came to the US everyone called him Peter, so when my dad was born they named him Louis Peter. And of course St. Peter is pretty awesome, so there’s that.

And just to refresh your memory, Benjamin (also called Ben and Benji — a fun nickname from his siblings) joins

Matthew Darren
Margaret (Maggie, Mags) Claire
Abigail (Abby, Abs) Regina

I looooove Benjamin, and I love it with Peter! What a handsome addition to this wonderful family!!

Congratulations to Laura and her husband and Matthew, Maggie, and Abby, and happy birthday Baby Benjamin!!

Benjamin Peter with his big siblings ❤ (and check out Laura’s Instagram for more photos of this sweet family!)

Birth announcement: Gregory Conrad!

I posted a consultation for Amanda and her hubs a couple of months ago, and she’s let me know her little guy has arrived and been given the amazingly perfect name … Gregory Conrad!

Amanda writes,

Gregory Conrad was born yesterday, the feast of St Cecilia (patron saint of musicians) and the anniversary of when this sweet little guy’s daddy asked me to marry him 13 years ago.

Our Little “Rory” is named after Pope St Gregory the Great, who was also a wonderful musician and created the Gregorian Chant, and his daddy, Vincent Conrad, who was named after a grandfather Conrad as well. 🙂

I thought you would also like to know that on the way to the hospital, we looked up male patron saints of musicians and Gregory was at the top of the list. That kind of made up our minds, even before we saw his face, because Gregory and Sylvester were our top two at that point!! If that’s not a sign from Heaven, I don’t know what is 🙂

We let [daughter] Ellie pick his middle name when the kiddos met him, giving her the choices of Lucas, Conrad, or Jonah (because it means stubborn!). She was pretty tickled to get to help. We will also shorten it to “Rory” or even ‘Gregor’ … but not ‘Greg,’ as I’m just not crazy about one syllable. Please keep baby and I in your prayers, as it was a very long and difficult labor and delivery. So thankful he is here and healthy!

Gregory with the nickname Rory was on Amanda’s initial list this time around, and it’s an option I’ve long loved and suggested on the blog! I love it! There’s so much meaning in this little guy’s name and birth, from the connection to music (Amanda’s a musician), to his birthday being the anniversary of the day Amanda and her hubs got engaged, to his name being a five-syllable combo, just like his big brothers and sister, wow!

Please do keep Amanda and her baby boy in your prayers! Congratulations to the whole family, including big sibs Oliver, Elizabeth, Theodore, Henry, and Adrian, and happy birthday Baby Gregory!!

Gregory Conrad with his mama and big brothers and sister

Spotlight: Callixtus

I really wanted to post a name spotlight today, and could not for the life of me think of a name to spotlight! I have a running list of names I’d like to feature, but I can’t put my hand on it at the moment (and if any of you are waiting for one that I’ve promised, maybe shoot me an email to remind me! So sorry!). So I asked my oldest, who I had to pick up early from school because he wasn’t feeling well, what some of his favorite names are, and was surprised that Callixtus was in the mix! So that’s today’s name!

My son was like, “I’m not sure you’ve heard of this name,” and I was like, “Do you even know me, boy?!”, but beyond being a collector of Catholic names (although I admit I’ve been surprised a time or two by new-to-me names), I knew a friar/professor in college with the variant Callistus (his religious name), and I’ve actually given it some thought, mostly because of the nickname Cal, which I love (the friar went by Fr. Cal).

Behind the Name gives Callixtus as a variant of Callistus, “the spelling perhaps influenced by Latin calix ‘wine cup.'” Callistus is from the Greek Kallistos, meaning “most beautiful,” and the feminine name Callista is from the same. I just said to my son, “Callixtus is from the Greek for ‘most beautiful'” and he said, “Oh! I thought it came from ‘chalice.'” What a smartie! Our “chalice” comes from “calix,” so he really did know more about the name than I did!

There are a bunch of Sts. Callistus, including two Popes (Pope St. Callistus I and Pope St. Callistus II), and funny enough, when I searched CatholicSaints.info for Callixtus, only Pope St. Callistus I comes up — he’s got an interesting story. I kind of like the X spelling — X is a hot letter right now, and I really do like the connection to “chalice.” I also looked up Calix because I thought I’d remembered seeing that name on a child before, and it does seem to be mostly given as a short form of Callixtus, though a calyx is also the “chalice-shaped” part of a flower. I’m loving all these connections to the chalice! Callixtus is such a meaningful name!

What do you think of Callixtus (or Callistus)? Would you name a boy so, or have you? What nickname would you tend toward (Cal or Calix), or would you use a different one?

Baby name consultation: Classic Biblical and/or saintly name needed for baby boy

Laura and her husband are expecting their fourth baby on earth (second boy)! Their first two babies are in heaven, and Laura writes,

When we lost our first baby, I had a strong sense about the name Timothy and when I looked it up I found it meant “honoring God.” Then after our second loss, I was too emotionally drained and asked my husband to pray on it and he came up with Emma which means “whole”. I feel like these names definitely set the tone for our three here as well, as we always try to choose classic names that are either Biblical or Catholic saints.”

I love both Timothy and Emma, and I agree that they’ve set the tone well for their subsequent children:

Matthew Darren (“we love the name Matthew and it means “Gift of God” which he was because he was our first to make it to full term. Darren is the name of my husband’s cousin who was a CIA agent who was killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan“)

Margaret Claire (“Margaret was my husband’s grandmother’s name and it is also the name of our parish (St. Margaret of Scotland). I have always loved the fact that there are SOOOO many nickname options for Margaret. Currently we call her Mags. Her middle name is in remembrance of a family member that I lost a few years ago, but also for St. Clare of Assisi (I know the spelling is different)“)

Abigail Regina (“my due date [with Abby] was December 8th so it was very important to me that we honor Our Blessed Mother, but I kind of can’t stand the name Mary because it is SO plain and common. So we chose Abigail (which is actually in the Old Testament) and means “Gives Joy” and Regina of course is how we honored Mary. I really wanted Regina as the first name, but my husband wasn’t having it“)

Aren’t they great names?? I love the meaning behind each one — so much significance!!

Laura was hoping for some name ideas to fit with their older kiddos. For inspiration, names they’ve discussed for this little guy include:

John Paul
Maximilian
Rocco
Kolbe

Working on this was really satisfying for me because their taste is pretty consistent! You all know that I almost always start a consultation by looking up all the names the parents have used and like/are considering in the Baby Name Wizard as it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in terms of style/feel/popularity — looking up the names for this family was so fun because there was so much overlap!

That said though, names like Kolbe and John Paul aren’t included in the BNW, so that was a fun twist, trying to think of names that I think of as being similar to them in style and incorporating the results into my ideas for Laura and her hubs (I also used my Sibling Project to help — the John Paul entry was spot on!).  I came up with five ideas for this little boy:

(1) Gregory
Gregory was the very first name listed in the BNW as a match for Timothy, and was also listed in the Sibling Project as a match for John Paul, and as soon as I saw it I thought aha! I love Gregory for this family! He’s traditional and Catholicky Catholic like Pope St. Gregory the Great, and handsome and distinguished like Gregory Peck. The nickname Greg tends to turn people off a little bit, but I love Rory as a nickname for it, and I could also see something like Gregory Stephen lending itself nicely to the nickname Gus. I’ve also seen Grey used as a nickname for it, and I know a little Gregory who goes by Duke!

(2) Benjamin (or Benedict, Bennett?)
Benjamin was the biggest style match in the BNW, being similar to Timothy, Emma, Matthew, Claire, and Abigail! I love the name, and Ben is one of the friendliest nicknames in my opinion. While I think Benjamin is the closest match to the style of name Laura and her hubs like, Benedict is a great option if they wanted to get closer to the feel of John Paul, Maximilian, and Regina, and Bennett is a Benedict variant that, being a last name, is similar to Kolbe.

(3) Andrew
Andrew was another big hit for Laura and her hubs! It’s impeccable: biblical, masculine, great patron saints and nickname options. When I heard Fr. Andrew Apostoli speak at the Syracuse Women’s Conference a couple of years ago, I loved that he referenced Andrew as his patron saint, which of course is obvious, but I thought it gave Andrew an extra Catholic oomph.

(4) Philip
This was actually only listed as a style match for Regina, which I loved seeing, but I totally think of it as brother material for Timothy, Matthew, Andrew, Benjamin, and even John Paul with its two-biblical-names-in-one. (To be extra Catholicky Catholic, I love the idea of Philip Neri as a firstname+middlename combo! And Finn works as the perfect nickname I think.) (I loooove Finn!)

(5) Samuel
Finally, Samuel. It’s got a similar biblical style and feel to Timothy, Matthew, Abigail, Andrew, Philip, and Benjamin, and was also listed as similar to Emma. And that great nickname Sam! The story of Samuel is often particularly meaningful to mothers.

And those are my ideas for Laura and her hubs! What do you all think? What name(s) would you suggest for the little brother of Timothy, Emma, Matthew, Margaret, and Abigail?

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!