Priest referring to deceased children as Saints


At the sad funeral of a 3 year old last year, our Pastor told us that according to church rules, all children who die “before the age of reason” are Saints. Since then, there have been three more babies who have died. At every Sunday Mass now, during the intercessions part of the Eucharistic Prayer, he says (I’m leaving out the actual names here, but he doesn’t) “…And for our parish Saints: St. A - 3 years old; St. B - 1 1/2 years old; St. C - 1 hour old; and St. D - minutes old.”
He’s a wonderful pastor, but is his determination that all these little ones are Saints correct?
Thank you for your answer! God bless.


Everyone who dies in a state of grace is a saint.
Now, are they Saints with a holy card and a special recognition day for their work in this life? No. that is reserved for those who have been officially canonized or canonized centuries ago via acclamation. When we pray with the communion of saints, we mean “everybody living in the Presence of God in heaven”.
Now, whether it is wise to keep mentioning these little children,…hmmmm. :shrug:
It might be causing the parish discomfiture (especially the parents). Sounds like he intends to do the opposite.
Sticking to the prayers as written is important. I suppose he believes he is comforting those who are mourning.

When we die and go to heaven, we become saints. Not angels, saints.
God bless you.


All those who die in a state of grace and are in heaven after death are saints. That doesn’t mean we will have devotion going for all the deceased in heaven who are now saints or calling them Saint XYZ but we need to remember that they are with God and are perfected in death and clothed in righteousness of God in heaven.

Pax Christi


Anyone who died in a state of grace is in heaven.

However, only canonized saints should be a part of public devotion, so the addition of the names in the Eucharistic Prayer is an abuse.


Presumng they were all Baptsed, there s no reason they would not be in a state of grace. think its a pretty safe bet that they’re saints.


According to Catholic teaching, a baby who dies after being baptized definitely goes to heaven and is a saint. If they haven’t been baptized, we just hope they go to heaven, and we know they are not punished in Hell. So the major question is, were these children baptized?


If a person dies with no personal sin on his soul, then he goes straight to heaven. If he dies with any personal sin, then he either goes to purgatory or to hell. If a child who has not attained the use of reason reason dies free from personal sin, then he goes straight to heaven. If he dies with any personal sin, then he must first go to purgatory – he would be incapable of committing a mortal sin without having the use of his reason. I have heard that even babies can attain the use of reason, like the holy innocents in the Old Testament. The normal age we attain reason is seven. God bless you.


I append my prior post. I forgot to include any mention of baptism.

Mea culpa.


Not precisely true. If I sin (and thereby, have “temporal punishment due to sin”), go to confession, and get hit by a bus on the way out of church, I’ll have died “with no personal sin on my soul;” yet, it would be necessary for me to be purged of the imperfections I’ve accrued. :wink:


The real question is,
Will they be Canonized as Saints?

I doubt it.


That would be correct. A Canonized Saint is one who is held up as a model of devotion. They live lives of “Heroic Virtue”.

For a baptized child who dies before the Age of Reason, the are most certainly saints in Heaven.

But it would only be through the demonstration of miracles attributed to their intercession that would allow them to be added to the Canon of Saints.

The children can, and most certainly should be used in private devotion by family and friends. But that would be the extent of their veneration.


Hello, thank you all for your posts, it’s very illuminating. I still have lots to learn, please forgive me if I sound ignorant or crude.
I don’t think the last of the four deceased children that he always mentions was “officially” baptized. At his funeral the Pastor said “we baptized him with our tears.” I believe he may in fact have been delivered stillborn.

He doesn’t mention any of these children in the context of any Canon of Saints. He mentions them in the intercessions for the deceased of the parish, something like this:

“We pray for Joan A., for whom this Mass is being offered.
We pray for our beloved Mary B., who went home to the Lord on Thursday, and who will be buried on Monday.
*And for our parish Saints: St. C - 3 years old; St. D - 1 1/2 years old; St. E - 1 hour old; and St. F - minutes old. *
Welcome them into the light of your face. Have mercy on us all, we pray, that with the blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, with the blessed Apostles, and all the Saints who have pleased you throughout the ages, we may merit to be co-heirs to eternal life, and may praise and glorify you through your Son, Jesus Christ.”

Thank you again. God bless!
PS - If it’s snowing or icy where you are please be safe and warm. :slight_smile:


The correct procedure in that case is what is called a ‘conditional Baptism’. Since we do not know when the soul departs from the body, it is considered possible, but not certain, that a Baptism may be effective.

The words used are “If it is possible, I baptize you in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”

Those baptized with a conditional Baptism are also entitled to a Catholic Funeral using the Rite for baptized persons.


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