Naming is so important — and so holy — that Christian parents need to take great care in choosing the names we give our children.
As a bonus to the love we share, Belinda and I were blessed in our marriage with three awesome and amazing children. Before each was born, we spent hours debating and discerning what to name them.
First we came to agree that our eldest, a girl, would be called Emily Nicole; and as time passed, we decided together that her two brothers would be named Samuel Edward and Benjamin Jared.
When the time was right, we presented our children for baptism. At each Rite of Baptism we were asked: "What name have you given this child?"
We spoke aloud the names we had chosen, and these become the names by which our children were baptized, as the church’s minister proclaimed: "(Name), I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "God calls each one by name. Everyone’s name is sacred. The name is the icon of the person. It demands respect as a sign of the dignity of the one who bears it" (2158).
Each name we chose became an "icon of the person" for each of our children at his or her baptism. According to the catechism, "The name one receives is a name for eternity" (2159).
The "icon" of each name we bestowed on them will forever mark each of our children as unique individuals within our family, within our faith community and within the Body of Christ.
At every baptism, the parents are asked: "What name have you given this child?"
All of creation waits in silence to hear what the icon of each child will be.