Friday, April 9, 2010

Patron Saints

Patron Saints. A rather unique and intriguing take on religion that – as a Man of History – I can really get behind.

The concept is an interesting in that it offers Catholics the opportunity to be polytheistic without going to Hell. This concept likely appealed to the Romans and Greeks of the day when they were upset that Poseidon drowned their favorite sheep but weren’t ready to give up control of their lives to a single deity.

It’s also attractive in that, though many apply to professions, you can choose which Patron Saint to whom you can devout your life and drachma. Also worth noting, the majority of the Patrons serve the downtrodden, unlucky, and unfortunate. It’s likely the followers of the Patron Saint of I’m-Better-Than-You would not be thought highly of by The Big Man.

I actually have a Patron, but I decided to do some research for purely historical purposes. The results were surprising, hilarious, and disturbing… Feel free to support one of these saintly beings…

St. Joseph

This guy (like most) covers a multitude of areas, most notably carpenters and engineers. My engineering background and middle-name connection would lead one to think that St Joseph was my patron, but he’s not. His specialty tends toward carpentry and (in the modern era) home sales. Nope… not kidding. Supposedly, burying a statue of this guy in your back yard is good for business. Unfortunately, St. Joseph is also the Patron Saint of Happy Death. So…. good luck with that.

St. Expedite

This is a favorite of mine. His name alone is enough to illicit images of a superhero flying in on a giant cross. He is the Patron of both procrastinators and speedy results, presumably because the procrastinators held off selecting a Patron of their own and just copied off the other guy’s paper. This guy was likely a early frontrunner for “Most Revered Patron” due to his similarities to Mercury/Hermes/The Flash. He’s also associated with African messenger-trickster spirits, which makes him the Loki of the Huxtable family.

St. Cyprian

I find this fascinating. This guy is the Patron of witches, occultists, sorcerers, magicians, and pretty much anything non-Catholic. The only thing I can think is that this was the early Catholic Church’s analogy to the modern method used by police to trap felons by notifying them that they won something and to come pick it up in a dusty warehouse. A decree would be posted around the city. “Cyprian followers - A meeting will be held at the city center at around noon. Near the scaffolding. Hangings are planned there fifteen minutes later. Events are unrelated.”

St. Christopher

And, finally, we get to my Patron Saint. St. Chris is the Patron Saint of travelers and transportation, and I usually wear a St. Christopher necklace when I travel. Ironically, St. Chris is also the Patron Saint of Bachelors (bonus!), so I feel this guy’s pain. He is often depicted as a ferryman carrying the Christ child across a river on his shoulders, which I see as somewhat disrespectful given that the little punk could have just walked across the water himself. St. Christopher is also ideal for me to honor as the guy didn’t actually exist… much like Jesus himself (Bazinga!).

After further inspection, I came to the conclusion that many of these Patron Saints have their roots in Spanish and Mexican religious ceremonies. This offered up a different perspective, and I decided to come up with modern equivalents. And, since Hispanics are light-weight drunkards, I give you the Patrón Saints! …Ya see what I did there?

St. Jose – St Jose is the Patrón Saint of worms, blackouts and misplaced clothing. He is honored during siesta time between 1-4 PM every day. Often, he is depicted identically as St. Christopher, except carrying a TV instead of baby Jesus.

St. Jack – The Patrón Saint of huntin’ and cousin-kissin’, reverence of St. Jack has ebbed considerably in the face of rising NASCAR ratings. In his place, notable upswings have been apparent in offerings to St. Natty Light. Still, St. Jack has loyal followers in remote areas where churches devoted to him share a Walmart aisle with shotguns and various tobacco products.

St. Morgan – St. Morgan is the Patrón Saint of pirates and uncomfortable body poses that make you look like a douche. He has numerous followers in the Caribbean and South America, and the numbers continue to grow as his devotees channel efforts into Super Bowl commercials. Critics point out that he hasn’t been promoted past Captain for 66 years.

And, there you have it, a subset of Patron Saints along with better-known and (most-likely) more closely-followed Patrón Saints. All will humble you and expose your weakness. Yet, all will help you rise up and overcome. Be it to the Gods of Heaven or the Gods of Porcelain, keep those prayers coming folks.

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