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Should I pray to specific saints for specific requests?

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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 intercession.

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 with eyesight.

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 askfatherdoyle@gmail.com and 30 Columbia Circle Dr., Albany, N.Y. 12203.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2017