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Religious Jewelry: A Memorable Gift

The wearing of religious jewelry is steeped in many faiths. Christian jewelry often takes the form of a cross that is worn by the Christian as an outward symbol of his or her inner faith in Jesus.

In the Catholic tradition, religious jewelry is often given as a Baptism gift, a Communion gift, or a Confirmation gift. Tiny rosaries or small bracelets are often given to babies upon their Baptism, while necklaces and rosaries are often chosen as gifts for First Holy Communion. For Catholic children, however, it is Confirmation - and the Saint medals they receive - that is often the most meaningful.

In preparation for their Confirmation, Roman Catholic pre-teens choose a Saint's name to take as their own. It's not uncommon for them to pour over books about Saints and to query relatives about their own Confirmation names. Often, relatives will bring out the Saints medals they received as gifts upon their Confirmations and share vivid recollections about the significance of their Patron Saints.

Presenting Saint medals to Roman Catholics experiencing their Confirmation is common, as is the gifting of other religious jewelry. Christian jewelry, such as gold or silver crucifixes, Holy Spirit pins, and rosaries are also given. But it is often saint medals that mean the most to the girl or boy being Confirmed.

Some of the most popular Patron Saints are:

St. Jude - The Patron Saint of desperate cases, St. Jude was one of the 12 Apostles. His feast day is October 28.

St. Matthew - One of the 12 Apostles, St. Matthew is the Patron Saint of bankers, possibly because he was a tax collector prior to his conversion. His feast day is September 21.

St. Philomena - Although much of her life remains a mystery, it is believed that St. Philomena was martyred at the age of 14. This is why she is the Patron Saint of infants and children.

St. Thomas Aquinas - Born in 1226, St. Thomas Aquinas is the Patron Saint of students and of universities. His feast day is January 28.

St. Agnes - The Patron Saint of girls, more specifically of the Children of Mary, St. Agnes was martyred at the age of 13. Her feast day is January 21.

Religious jewelry is not only an adornment - it is a manifestation of faith. When given as a gift, it is an acknowledgement of the spirituality of the recipient. When worn, it is a reminder of one's faith in God and a recognition of one's humble origins.

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