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Ann Titus wrote:

Hi, guys —

My daughter is being confirmed in the Catholic church this year and was planning to choose the name Dionysius, for the Saint who was converted by Paul, as who is mentioned once in Acts.

Her DRE (Director of Religious Education) said that she was not permitted to take this name.

My daughter is determined to take this name. There really is not much information about this saint, other than in he was likely a judge, and became the first bishop of Athens however I've asked my daughter to learn as much about him as possible and to prepare a statement about why she wants this name.

  • Who really has the authority, in such a situation, to determine what confirmation name a person can choose?

I thought all that was needed was to choose the name of a recognized Catholic saint.


  { Can the Religious Ed. teacher restrict what name my daughter chooses for her Confirmation? }

Mary Ann replied:


There are two saints named Dionysius, one from the second century, and one, a Pope, from the third century. Your daughter may take the name in honor of either of them, since they are saints.

The Dionysius of Acts may be honored in the name but he would not be the patron, as he is not known to be a saint.

The DRE has no power or authority over the choice of Confirmation names, as long as they are names of saints. Your daughter might want to use the feminine form of Dionysius.

If the DRE suspects she is just being silly or smart-alecky in her choice of a name (choosing it for no reason, or to be ostentatiously strange), she should inquire to see if your daughter is taking Confirmation seriously.

You were wise to ask your daughter to indicate this by preparing a statement about her chosen name. You can find out about either of the Sts. Dionysius at New Advent and enter Dionysius in the search box in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

Mary Ann

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