Unmistakably Catholic Boy Names


Last month I wrote about girl names that are unmistakably Catholic, a topic which was inspired by a name consultation I did for a family who wanted others to hear their daughter’s name and “just know she’s Catholic!” Today’s the boys’ turn!

I asked my readers for help, and between us we came up with this list of names that we think come across to most people as unmistakably Catholic:

  • Aloysius
  • Alphonsus
  • Ambrose
  • Anselm
  • Aquinas
  • Benedict
  • Dominic
  • Francis, Francisco, Francesco, especially the combo Francis Xavier
  • Fulton
  • Gerard
  • Ignatius
  • John Paul
  • Juan Diego
  • Mary (any form)
  • Pius, Pio
  • Rosario
  • Stanislaus
  • Urban
  • Vincent
"Unmistakably Catholic Boy Names" by Kate Towne (CatholicMom.com)

By Fred Palumbo, World Telegram staff photographer [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

And these are names that ARE very, traditionally Catholic, but I don’t think they’re as obvious to as many people as the above names because they have decent usage in other areas:

  • Augustine (there’s a Protestant school near me called St. Augustine’s)
  • Blaise
  • Clement
  • Gabriel
  • Joseph
  • Jude
  • Kolbe
  • Matthias
  • Michael
  • Thaddeus
  • Thomas
  • Xavier (this one I wavered on … it might be better placed in the above list?)
  • The other apostles’ names (and really, all the biblical names)

Then there are those that are too unfamiliar to the general population to be understood as Catholic, even though their usage is almost if not totally exclusively so, like:

  • Athanasius
  • Bosco
  • Isidore
  • Joachim
  • Polycarp
  • Tarcisius
  • Vianney

One thing that one of my readers noted is that “most Catholic boy names are usually only obviously Catholic in clusters,” and another agreed, saying that “a little Thomas might not mean much, but if his brother is Peter? Catholic!” She also added that “anything ‘double’” has a very Catholic feel, like John-Patrick and James Michael (when the boy is called by both names together).

Of course, it’s totally fine if you don’t want your kiddos’ names to smell of incense! But if you do, the names on these lists are probably your best bet.

Do you agree with these lists? What names would you add?

Copyright 2017 Katherine Morna Towne


About Author

Kate is a writer, wife to a really good man, and mama to their seven boys ages 1 to 15. She shares her thoughts on Catholic baby naming at Sancta Nomina, and her first book, Catholic Baby Names for Girls and Boys: Over 250 Ways to Honor Our Lady (Marian Press, 2018) can be found at ShopMercy.org and Amazon.


    • Great, saintly names! And they certainly have good use among Catholic families. But if someone were to meet a Stephen/Gregory/John/Matthew, I don’t think their first assumption would be that that boy/man is Catholic, like they would for an Aloysius, for example.

  1. I loved reading your lists of names, Kate! It truly is comforting to hear a name that brings thoughts of our Faith right to the fore! I do have to say that Patrick and Brendan, in my mind, would always have a place on lists such as these! (And, yes, I am Irish American!)

  2. Our youngest is Xavier, and Protestants think it’s some weird made up name, so I’d definitely put it on the ‘unmistakably Catholic’ list. 😉

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