Q. I often hear people say that they pray to specific saints for
specific needs and that this is effective. I have a few favorite saints, and I
ask each of them to intercede with the Lord for all of my requests. So my
question is this: Should I make an adjustment and pray instead to designated
saints according to their "specialties"? (Danville, Ind.)
A. It is true that certain saints are regarded as having
particular "specialties" — either because of the history of that
saint's life or the record of certain favors being granted through their
St. Matthew, for example, is considered the patron saint of
bankers and bookkeepers because of his own occupation as a tax collector, and
St. Luke is regarded as the patron of physicians.
St. Anne, the mother of Our Lady, is often invoked at childbirth,
and St. Joseph has been called the patron of a happy death. St. Lucy, a
fourth-century martyr who is thought to have had her eyes gouged out but had
her sight miraculously restored, is sometimes asked to intervene for problems
The church has long believed that the saints, our elder brothers
and sisters in the faith, live now in God's presence and can intercede with the
Lord on our behalf.
Around A.D. 350, Cyril of Jerusalem wrote that during the
eucharistic prayer, "we make mention also of those who have already fallen
asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles and martyrs, that through
their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition."
When we pray, it boosts our confidence and enhances our faith to
know that the particular saint we ask to help might well have a special
sympathy for our own circumstance. There is no definite and dogmatic answer,
though, to the question you pose, and none of us can presume to be privy to the
inner workings of heaven.
I think that you should continue exactly what you are doing —
communing with those saints to whom you are especially drawn and asking them to
intervene in all of your needs.
Questions may be sent to Fr. Doyle at
firstname.lastname@example.org and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, N.Y. 12203.