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What Are the Benefits of Praying to Saints?


A listener named Craig calls into the show and shares that he converted to Catholicism 25 years ago and is still struggling with the idea of praying to saints. He asks, “What are the benefits of praying to saints?”

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Father Dave explains, “I celebrated Mass today, and the preface of the Eucharistic prayer used today for Saints Joachim and Anne may be helpful. The preface is something that will change not necessarily every single time, but for instance, on a saint day we would use the preface made for the saints. … Today’s preface says, ‘For you are praised in the company of your saints, and in crowning their merits you crown your own gifts. By their way of life, you offer us an example. By communion with them, you give us companionship. By their intercession, sure support. So that, encouraged by so great a cloud of witnesses, we may run as victors in the race before us, and win with them the imperishable crown of glory …’

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“We often refer to the saints as a cloud of witnesses,” Father Dave continues. “It sounds like a kind of jargon, but I love the way it is used in this preface. Picture you are running in the Olympics and you end up in the stadium, and everyone has been waiting there for a couple of hours, and you arrive and everyone is there cheering you on. I like that image that they are a cloud of witnesses cheering us on as we are running the race. The preface also mentions that they are an example for us. The vast majority of Catholics relate to the saints in this way. Their life experience might not be identical to yours, but something that you can relate to … in studying the lives of the saints you might be inspired.”

Father Dave points out that just as we have community in our daily lives, the saints are another community of support for us. (Original Air 7-26-18) 

Saints in the Trinity Dome Mosaic at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC  (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn).