Praying to saints


I was wondering when Catholics pray to certain saints…as in, in what situations should one pray to a particular saint, when should they pray to the Father, when they should pray to Mary. :shrug:

Also, do you have a particular saint that you personally pray to often?

I’ll add that I don’t really have a problem with the idea of praying to saints etc…at this point I’m more curious as to how it works so to speak.


Well sometimes you might pray to a saint who is the patron saint of whatever you need help with, or sometimes just because you feel close to them. Go to them and the Blessed Mother any time you wish.
Now, just to make sure you’re clear, you realize we’re not doing the same thing as praying to God when we pray to the saints? I tend to shy away from saying ‘pray to’, since it is easy to confuse non-Catholics. When we do ‘pray to them’ what we are really doing is asking them to pray for us, like we would ask someone we know to pray for us. Just as we might ask a living friend to do so, the saints (our friends in heaven) can do the same.


We ask for the intercession of saints, we don’t pray to saints.

My favorite saint is Mary.


Hi Matthew :wave: Welcome to Catholic Answers Forum!

Just to expand a little bit on what “Eucharisted” said… We ask the saints in Heaven, to “intercede” for us. That is… to pray for us and for our needs. But the prayer (and adoration), itself… is always for God. :gopray: This is also true, when we ask Our Blessed Mother for her intercession. We ask her to speak to God, on our behalf. We are simply asking them, to talk to God… about our needs.

One of the richest treasures of the Catholic Church is called “The Communion of Saints”. This refers to those who have lived and died, before us… having led holy lives, and therefore… officially Canonized (declared a saint) by the Church.

I honestly couldn’t tell you how many thousands of saints there are. But you can imagine it’s a LOT… after 20 centuries! Starting with Our Lady and the original Apostles and Disciples of Our Lord Jesus.

There are some saints… who are named “Patron” or “Patroness” of a particular thing, or a particular place, or a particular cause. This is usually specified because of a link that the saint had to the subject.

For example… St. Therese of Lisieux, was named co-Patroness of France (along with St. Joan of Arc). Because she lived a life of exemplary holiness… as a Carmelite nun… in the city of Lisieux, France. However, she is also the Patroness of Missionary’s! Because during her lifetime… she had a deep prayer devotion for the Missions. She prayed a LOT for Missionary priests.

Then there is St. Francis of Assisi. You’ve probably heard of him. :thumbsup: He is called the “Patron of God’s Creatures” because he had a great love of all of God’s animals and nature.

And St. Peregrine. He is the Patron saint of cancer patients… because during his life, he suffered (and I believe was cured of) cancer.

As for Our Blessed Mother, Mary… speak to her whenever you want! She is our Mother, too. Jesus gave her to us… as He was dying on the Cross. I would just suggest talking to Our Lady as a Mother. Just as Jesus entered the world through Mary… we, can enter Heaven through Mary. That means… with the help of her intercession. I tell her ALL my problems… several times a day! :smiley:

And on and on. The Communion of Saints! These beautiful souls in Heaven, are truly our brothers and sisters… all of them, praying for us and wanting us to be home in Heaven with them, one day.

Hope this helps. God bless.


My favorite saint is Mary too! But there are so many others willing to interecede for us! I will ask for a saint’s intercession if I know that something about their earthly struggles corresponds with my current need. If I am crabby about being broke, I might ask St. Francis to intercede for me that my heart might change and I can better appreciate my bountiful blessings. Sometimes I ask St. Maria Goretti or Rose of Lima to intercede for my prayers of purity for my children. It is easier to ask for intercession when you know a bit about the saints, and there are many resources - just avoid wikipedia!:slight_smile:


I agree with Kathy on this. Matthew… there are a lot of “sources” out there… that spread lies about the Catholic Church. For one of two reasons… either they are ignorant of what the Catholic Church teaches… or they hate the Catholic Church. Either way, they spread a lot of errors about the Church. :nope:

Always be sure that your research is from a reliable source. In addition to this site “Catholic Answers”… here is another one, to get you started. You can be sure that whatever is posted at the Eternal Word Television Network site (EWTN)… is very accurate. They are very careful about faithfulness to true Catholic doctrine. Here a link on Our Lady and the Saints. God bless you.


Hey thanks Marie Veronica (and others)…yes, it is always important to know your sources, especially when it comes to the church! I am amazed every day at how things I was always ‘taught’ about the Catholic Church were way off-base. Unfortunately sometimes this is deliberate by some people and groups.




I was amazed by the same thing when I was coming into the Catholic Church. There’s so much I’d always “known” about Catholicism that was simply completely bogus. I still occasionally amaze a Protestant who comes up to me and says, “Don’t worship the Virgin Mary! She’s not a goddess!” And I just say, “I know she’s not,” and they go “Huh?” It impressed me while converting how Catholics have perfectly rational explanations for what they do believe.

We ask saints in Heaven for their prayers just as almost any Christian will ask other believers on Earth for their prayers. Jesus talked to the souls of Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration, just as we talk to saints that have passed on when we pray, and the Apostle John spoke with spiritual “elders,” saints in Heaven, in his great vision of Revelation. Then in 2 Maccabbees we read about Judas Maccabbees praying for the souls of men who died wearing idols. Praying to saints is definitely a Biblical practice. It’s just that Protestants somehow don’t see it.

Don’t ask me why they don’t see it! I was a Protestant all my life until the last couple years, and I read and reread the passages referring to prayers to saints many, many times, but I would still have told you it’s an unbiblical practice. Even though it’s obvious. I was oblivious. I guess we’re just preprogrammed by our upbringing or our social environments to interpret the Bible only in certain ways and not in others. That’s probably the root cause of much of this confusion. Why the original Reformers couldn’t see it . . . that’s a harder one. My view is they were predisposed to see evil in Catholic teaching because they were so rabidly anti-Catholic.

Praying to saints is in the Old Testament and the New. It was the practice of the Kingdom of Israel and the Early Church Fathers inherited it from them and practiced it from the very dawn of Christianity. It’s nothing pagan. It’s in the Bible and has ancient Judeo-Christian origins. All Christians practiced or accepted it until the 16th century.

God bless you :).


Thanks Lief…you’re spot-on with the pre-programming idea. Especially when you are born into something, it is incredible how much stuff you ‘‘know’’…and yet, upon deep reading and contemplation, you discover it was wrong or at least slightly askew.

God bless you too brother.


I also agree entirely with your point here…man, how I’d love to interview Luther et al.


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