Common of Saints

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q: If a saint does not have a proper of his own, we use those provided in the Common of Saints. The Roman Missal used the term “blessed” before the “N.”  Does that mean I will pray for example “blessed Camillus“ or “blessed Saint Camillus”?


A: You pray for “blessed Camillus,” not “blessed Saint Camillus”. I know it sounds weird to call a saint a blessed, as if it’s a demotion, but that is actually correct.

The missal’s prayers intend to show honor to the saints by calling them blessed, without thinking that this is a pre-canonization category. I remember this coming up at an ICEL meeting when the missal was under development. Several bishops on the commission questioned what would become the English translation in these cases precisely because of this problem. But ICEL was under orders to translate the words that were there in Latin, so it became “blessed” not “saint” even for saints.

It’s our custom in the US to give Mary the same title, “Blessed”, yet everyone realizes she is not awaiting canonization.

As you pray those prayers, if you think of “blessed” not as a title but as respectful adjective for someone who deserves our admiration, you’ll be closer to the meaning in Latin.