April 29, 2009

Baptism Stats

I don't know why, but I love figuring out stuff like this. One of my classmates calls me a "church nerd."

Of all those I have baptized thus far as a cleric of the Roman rite:

boys: 52%
girls :48%

Have a biblical or saint's first name: 43%*
Have a biblical or saint's name somewhere among their given names: 71%
Have no biblical or saint's name at all: 14%

Apart from surname,
have three given names: 12%
have two given names: 81%
have one given name: 7%

Most popular names:

For girls, Madison (15%)
For boys, Matthew (14%)


*I'm judging this in the most expansive sense, i.e. accepting as saint's or biblical names all versions, derivatives and cross-language drifters, like Jesús or Joshua for Jesus, Grace (a very New Testament word), Christine in it's various spellings, Sean for John, Marie, Mariah, etc.

7 comments:

Matt G. said...

Matthew was a popular name around the time I was born. Since I've been in school, there have always been at least three, often more, Matthew's in my classes.

Brother Charles said...

It is a fine name. Never forget the interplay with the NT Greek, mathetes, "disciple."

LM said...

When my brother was baptized, the priest asked my father why he does not have a name of a saint. My dad as always, had a quick answer. How will we ever have new saint names. kinda funny.

Jeanne said...

It seemed as if all the babies baptized this past year were named Madison! Thankfully we had a Sarah Elizabeth, two fine saint names, last weekend. I thought we as Catholics "had" to have a saint name somewhere in the child's name, even just as a middle name, or is that old school?

Brother Charles said...

That is a clever response, LM.

Jeanne, Canon law puts the point negatively:

c. 855, "Parents, godparents, and pastor should take care that a name that is alien to Christian sensibility is not given."

Jeff said...

God bless, Father! Thanks for the service and for the blog...

Fr Seán Coyle said...

Here in the Philippines parents sometimes take part of the father's name and part of the mother's name to make a new name. You can get some weird combinations.

The tradition used to be to take a name from the almanac or martyrology. So you can often tell a person's birthday by their name.

Once before doing a baptism at a fiesta when there was a team of priests helping, I asked a mother, who clearly was poor, what her child's name was. When she said 'Japhet' I looked at her. But she shot back in Cebuano, 'anak ni Noe', 'the son of Noah'. That put me in my place!