As the Family Liaison for FOCUS, part of my job is to put together a quarterly newsletter. The latest edition went out on November 1st and one of our wives, Meghan Krueger, put together a fun article on the tradition of choosing a patron saint for the liturgical new year. With her permission I'm posting the article here at Catholic Missionary Family so you can start this tradition in your own home!
As the season of Advent is quickly approaching, I’d like to share with you a tradition to help ring in the New (Liturgical) Year! Save the confetti and champagne for December 31st, and celebrate Advent Eve with the Saints (why not, you can throw some confetti in there too). An excerpt in St. Faustina’s Diary ‘Divine Mercy in my Soul’ inspires this tradition.
“There is a custom among us of drawing by lot, on New Year's Day, special Patrons for ourselves for the whole year. In the morning, during meditation, there arose within me a secret desire that the Eucharistic Jesus be my special Patron for this year also, as in the past. But, hiding this desire from my Beloved, I spoke to Him about everything else but that. When we came to refectory for breakfast, we blessed ourselves and began drawing our patrons. When I approached the holy cards on which the names of the patrons were written, without hesitation I took one, but I didn't read the name immediately as I wanted to mortify myself for a few minutes. Suddenly, I heard a voice in my soul: ‘I am your patron. Read.’ I looked at once at the inscription and read, ‘Patron for the Year 1935 - the Most Blessed Eucharist.’ My heart leapt with joy, and I slipped quietly away from the sisters and went for a short visit before the Blessed Sacrament, where I poured out my heart. But Jesus sweetly admonished me that I should be at that moment together with the sisters. I went immediately in obedience to the rule.”
Although you are the one picking the name out of the hat, it is really the Saint that chooses you!
In an effort to better embrace the Liturgical year, we began throwing an Advent Eve party and drew our patrons then. It is always exciting to see which Saint chooses you, sometimes its someone you know well, and other times it is someone you have never heard of. After it was such a big part of our lives in college, naturally, my husband and I have incorporated it into our ministry as campus missionaries, but it’s also a great way to celebrate as a family.
Here are a few tips for a successful Patron Saint drawing:
Gather a good number of Saint names together for people to draw from, and put them all in a hat (or bag, or bowl, you get the idea). This could be done in a number of ways: just writing out names that you copy from books or online, printing off small photos of the Saints, or using a variety of prayer cards that have a small biography or prayer of the Saint on them. You can also do this electronically by using this great Patron Saint generator at jenniferfulwiler.com.
The immediate reaction of people after drawing their patron is that they want to know more about their Saint or ask themselves ‘Why did this Saint choose me?” It’s helpful to have some books and other resources at the ready so you and others can fully embrace the new patron relationship as soon as possible.
Don’t stop at Advent!
|Holy medal wine charmers make a great patron saint gift!|
Since Christmas is right around the corner, it’s a great opportunity to give your loved ones simple Christmas gifts involving their Patron. A book about or written by their Patron Saint, a picture, or medal of their Saint can be simple gifts that hold a lot of meaning and are a good reminder to invoke their intercession. And, of course, remember the feast days throughout the year and take that time to pray a novena or celebrate the day in a special way. Was your patron a Capuchin Monk? Celebrate his feast day with a Cappuccino! Get creative!
It’s been fun to look back on the year and see how my Patron has directly interceded for me. This year my patron is St. Vincent de Paul, the patron of hospital workers. It makes sense, my doctors and nurses were fantastic throughout my first pregnancy and I’m convinced it was all through his intercession. The biggest thing to remember is that this Saint chooses you for a reason, and it’s a great time to really embrace their intercession; to get to know them and how their example of holiness can be a model for you in your journey to sainthood.