How to Choose a Confirmation Name

People sometimes e-mail me to ask for confirmation name suggestions. I’m always happy to help, but these e-mails are starting to give me the impression that many young Catholics think choosing a confirmation name is just like choosing a baby name.

The problem, of course, is that confirmation names are nothing like baby names. A baby name is a legal name that’s used socially. It’s an identity. A confirmation name is not a legal name, and is not used socially. It’s more of a symbol.

With baby names, fashion matters. (At least to most people.) With confirmation names, fashion shouldn’t matter at all. A confirmation name should come from a Catholic saint you admire, someone you feel an affinity for, regardless of his or her name.

I didn’t quite comprehend this back when I was a teenager getting ready to be confirmed. I opted for a stylish saint name over a meaningful saint name. It’s a decision I still regret.

I’d hate for others to make that same mistake. So, if you’re stumped for a confirmation name, here’s my best advice: forget about names entirely. Just read about the saints–what they were like, what they overcame, what they accomplished. Here are some good places to start:

As you go through each biography, ask yourself questions like: Does this saint inspire me? Would this saint be a good role model for me? The answers will lead you in the right direction.

20 Responses to How to Choose a Confirmation Name

  1. A confirmation name is not a legal name, and is not used socially.

    Unless you happen to really dislike your given name. My uncle (mother’s brother) used his confirmation name until he graduated college, when he apparently decided his given name was good enough. My father’s brother isn’t Catholic, and in order to escape the terror of HIS hideous name he’s had to resort to calling himself Bill. Oh, people assume that the middle-initial-W is for William and he has an atrocious first name, but no, in reality BOTH his names kinda suck.

  2. Nancy, I really appreciate this post. I’ve noticed an uptick in hits related to searches like “obscure saints names” as confirmation season approaches, too.

    My confirmation name is the deadly dull Teresa, a name that I can’t love. When I went searching I decided to learn about the three women considered doctors of the church – Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena and Therese de Lisieux. As it happened, I’d actually been to Avila and as I read, I realized that I felt a link to the saint.

    I’ve been name crazy my entire life, but I have to say – I’ve never regretted choosing my confirmation name for the meaning rather than the sound.

  3. Very well said Nancy. I would never consider the confirmation name I chose for a child, I don’t find the sound particularly appealing. Its Dymphna, but I felt a strong affinity to the saint, and I don’t regret my decision, despite its clunky sound, I am proud to incorporate it into my initials because it was the one time where I had the opportunity to choose a name that I felt was meaningful to me. I would rather save a name I really love for a child, instead of wasting it on myself lol.

  4. You make an excellent point. I chose Francis of Assisi. I remember being nervous that I wouldn’t be allowed to choose a male saint but I felt a strong connection to him. Now there are several other saints that I turn to more often and admire, but Francis was the right choice at the time. I do love his name too though and would consider it for a son.

    You did a post a while back on last names of saints and it helped me find Casey for Fr. Solanus Casey. Thanks!

  5. I still cant choose. My uncle just died. his name was Thomas, but i cant pick that name cause im a girl. Please txt back

  6. why dont you make your confirmation name Theresa because it is sort of like Thomas.

  7. This is for Sarah. There is nothing that says that you cannot choose a male saint. If his life inspires you, you can chose him. If tradition in your parish dictates that you must chose a female name, how about Thomasina?

  8. eeek, i cringe when i think of the name i chose for MY confirmation :(

    as is w/most of us here, i am a name-nut, and was back then too. i remember attempting to change the spelling of my “original” name in jr high, needless to say, didn’t go over well back in the 70s, with teacher OR parents, lOLLL! NOW, i call myself whatever the hell i feel like that day. eventually i hope to change it legally.
    but getting back to that fateful day in 1980, goodness, what WAS i thinking????
    CANDICE????????????? ahhh, any saints named that? loLLing as i think of how foolish it sounded when i was called up to the front. wut a loooooza :( i could have JUST as easily have used my middle name, Elizabeth, now THAT is a choice i could have lived with. i wonder if one can be re-confirmed?? alas, i suppose it doesn’t even matter at my age, but i DO so feel a huge twinge of guilt, for the disappointment my parents must have felt :(
    thank you for starting this thread! it is a subject i have not touched upon in some time! it is something i need to do some reflecting on!
    much love <3 Kysa

  9. i was wondering if you could help me choose my conformation name?

  10. @Kayla – Just e-mail if you’d like some help. Click that “Contact Nancy” link toward the top of the page.

  11. Hi my daughter is being confirmed next month, her name is Sarah! She is wondering if she can use her name for her confirmation name??

  12. @Dana – I don’t see why not, though you may want to ask with your diocesan priest (or some other local authority) first.

  13. hi:) my name is madeline and i need help with my name for church! help!

  14. Hi, I was wondering…
    Am allowed to pick the name francis even though Im a girl?

  15. @eve – I think it ought to be fine, though you should double check with someone at your church.

  16. I cannot think of a good name and it is very annoying can you think of a name that goes with olivia and marie thanks

  17. I picked St.Paul. It was my uncles name who was also my chosen godfather. He was quite a mentor to me growing up, which was also a help having a father that traveled a lot. Then, years later, I started learning about the actual St.Paul himself, who turned out to be quite an inspiration himself. I got a two for one!

  18. I’m thinking of either Cecilia or Regina…Cecilia because I have been overly musical my whole life, and Regina partly because I admire her for being strong and not afraid of dying for love of God- and also partly because ‘Regina’ is quite possibly the most gorgeous name ever. Since I truly admire both saints, what’s you guys advice on which to pick? I’m leaning towards Reginabecause I do admire her and I like the name so it’s kind of a happy medium…

  19. Can you pick Erin as a confirmation name, I want mine to be Erin but I’m not sure if you can. Please help!

  20. Hi eve,

    I’m not aware of any saint named Erin, but who knows, maybe a St. Erin exists. :) I’d recommend just asking a priest at your church about the name, he’ll tell you definitively whether or not it’s ok.

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