The Holy Father's visit reminded me of my early days in Toronto some years ago. It was my first time in the big city, and I was caught up in the novelty of famous people floating out and about, and making public appearances. I remember regularly heading to the studios of a popular radio station to try and catch a glimpse of, or snag an autograph from, my favourite musicians at the time.
I’m not exactly sure why I habitually did this. Maybe it’s because celebrities we see on television and in magazines often seem so inaccessible and to see one
(as if they are a rare species) in person is some kind of monumental victory!
Contrast that with the true celebrities of our faith – the saints. The holy men and women that make up the great communion of saints are far more accessible than any celebrity I could watch on television or see plastered on magazine’s at the grocery check-out counter (and their lives are often quite a bit more edifying as well!). To have a moment with someone the Church has declared a saint is relatively easy. The obvious way is to pray for that saint’s intercession, and develop a relationship with that particular saint through prayer. If you're up for a more tangible experience, an encounter with their relics or visit to their tomb, like our Holy Father’s visit to St. Augustine's tomb this past weekend, is often possible as well. I remember being awestruck at the fact that I was able to kneel at the tomb of St. Albert the Great – St. Thomas Aquinas’ teacher – and pray to him. It was dizzying to consider that I could venerate something that was once St. Thérèse of Lisieux's! These encounters were far more satisfying than a poorly framed photograph, a nonchalant wave, or an awkward encounter ending with a scribbled name on a slip of paper!
Most people have a favourite saint (check out a few young people's favourites in our production Saints: Gospel Artists
). So which saint has influenced you? Who do you have devotion to? Is there a particular saint who you always turn to in the time of need? We'd love to hear a comment from you about this -- just click on 'Comments' on the next line.