Early Catholic and Christians often gather on the “name-day” of Saints, which is usually the date of his/her death. The festivals in honor of saints are called “feast days.” Saints throughout history have taught the faith, spoken the truth and served God with their lives, and are true heroes to Catholic worshipers. Learning about the various saints and their sacrifices inspires Catholics to model their own lives after them.
Western and Eastern rites of the Catholic Church hold major feast days and seasons in common, but they differ on many of the solemnities and feasts. In honoring a particular saint and the values that they represent, it reminds Christians of the sacrifices that these saints made during their lifetime. A saint has contributed in positive ways to human society, making them heroes and icons to others.
Many saints have acquired symbols over the years, objects and images that represent some part of their story and are frequently shown in their portraits. These symbols help teach Catholics about the saints and their place in the life of the Catholic Church.
There are saints celebrated virtually every day of the year, and some days have 12-20 Saints assigned to them. There is a special mention and a prayer devoted to each saint, and sometimes a Mass is held or a nine-day novena, which usually includes the day of the feast. Some feast days are known and celebrated internationally, while others are observed only in a particular country or city. Roman Catholic Saints serve various purposes within the faith, depending on their life and holy deeds.
It is also a custom in the Catholic doctrine for a child to pick a saint name for confirmation, and this teaches and reminds them to remember the saints when feast days are celebrated. Having a patron saint who understands the difficulties of being human is a special gift.
In October, some of these popular saints include:
St. Francis of Assisi
Feast Day: October 4
Patron Saint of animals, merchants & ecology
Francis is considered the founder of all Fransican orders and the saint of ecologists and merchants; he preached about returning to God and obedience to the Church. He gave up all luxuries to help the poor.
St. Therese of Lisieux
Feast Day: October 1
Patron saint of the missions
St. Therese of Lisieux is one of the patron saints of missions, because of her special love of the missions, and the prayers and letters she gave in support of missionaries. This is a reminder to Catholics that little things keep God’s kingdom growing.
St. Jude Thaddaeus
Feast Day: October 28
Patron saint of the desperate cases
St. Jude, known as Thaddaeus, was a brother of St. James the Less and a relative of Our Savior. St. Jude was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus. Catholics pray and ask for special favors from him, as he provides hope for those who suffer.
Feast Day: October 18
Patron saint of physicians and surgeons
Luke was a writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, and is identified with St. Paul’s “Luke,” the beloved physician. Luke’s is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is a saint who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God’s kingdom open to all, who respected women and who saw hope in God’s mercy for everyone. He is known as a healer of body and mind.
God instituted feast day celebrations, and proper recognition is an example of the Catholic practice, when Christians reflect on and remember those who served and suffered for the well-being of humanity. The Saints were heroic in their practice of faith, hope and love, a practice most Catholics wish to replicate.