We need saints. . .

Over the next several days, I am going to give voice to the wonderful and insanely talented seminarians and M.A. students in my class on the “Spirituality of the Laity for the Parish Priest.”

After we spent several weeks carefully reading Pope John Paul II’s masterful magna carta of the lay vocation, Christifidelis laici, I asked them to re-write the popular “We Need Saints” piece that lit up the internet during World Youth Day this summer (though it was mis-attributed to Popes Francis, Benedict and John Paul; see here). Though the original reflection had some really great thoughts in it, I believed it could be improved by my class.

I was not disappointed.

So enjoy each day over the next several their heartfelt and powerful renditions of We Need Saints, their fresh vision of canonizable lay saints that we so desperately need in our Church. I pray that those of you reading these reflections will become the saints my students passionately envision…


John D. Matherne, Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux

We Need Saints for the Modern Age

We need saints for the modern age

A witness on the world’s stage

Knowing their dignity

Rooted in their identity

And willing to live it with integrity

Whether at home, work, school, church, bar

The ones who with friends don’t forget who they are

Those who are the athletes and freaks

those too shy or unwilling to speak

those who have fallen on hard times

or on whom the light always shines

We need saints who are sold out for the Church’s mission

and our faith is not merely a condition

Life that is truly lived, an authentic witness

Becomes the means by which the culture will be blessed

We need saints who recognize life as a gift from above

who the Gospel in faces does not shove

but live it as an authentic, witness of love

which screams a message that the world desires to hear

and hearts receive it loud and clear

It brightens the darkness of sin

and comes bringing the person to change within

The fruit comes from the way they live their life

that like a sharp edged knife

cuts this secular heart of stone

that makes the most passionate a slave, a drone

We need saints from all walks of life

ready and willing to endure the Christian’s strife

Whether man or woman, priest or lay

the world intimately desires what we have to say

Mass Sunday or daily, saint or sin

our Church desires the modern-day Augustine

along with today’s Therese, Frassati, Gianna, or Kolbe

and this is the witness the world needs

because Catholic is not accepted in the public square

the cross for our generation to bear

and live in light of the enemy’s snare

We need saints who mount the cross with open arms

for the one who against us bears arms

The Church flourishes from the martyrs’ blood

because of a Christ who redeemed the figure of mud

Disobeyed in a garden and the cancer of that fault spread

to all who were born and remained dead

Hope was restored by a man on a cross

but it was not life that was lost

but so much that was gained

and He looks down upon us as He reigns

In Him, we find our identity on truth

as we enter into this relationship ever new

We need saints ready and willing to encounter

as it is secularism that we counter

Persons not willing to give into the immature games of this world

like focusing so much on what I can take from this man or that girl

They hunger for truth held by the Church, our Mother

who unconditionally loves sister and brother

no matter what may be their favorite vice,

the fundamental goal remains eternal life.

We go into field for the smell of the flock

and until ALL come home, the mission doesn’t stop

Liar or thief, rich or poor

A saintly pope said for us to open the door

Cradle or convert, woman or man

At the Celebration we all kneel and stand

Healthy or sick, old or young,

with conversion; the Heavenly Alleluia is sung

We need saints who are willing to be small

The life of a teenage woman for all

The Immaculate Conception

The image of creation’s perfection

See in her an enfleshed example

Her total fiat as a sample

The first disciple of her Son

Crushing its head, she over the serpent won.

She lived her interior life from the start

And pondered all within her heart

But it would be pierced by a sword

As she witnessed the sacrifice of our Lord

She is the model of our lives

As the Incarnation also fuels us from the inside

We need saints of the world that is lived in

but those who are focused on Heaven as their end

Paradox: submit everything in order to be free

And here the world becomes who it was created to be

We need saints who will follow their Good Shepherd afar

So Catholic is not what we do, but who we are!

5 comments on “We need saints. . .

  1. laurenneill says:

    Wow! I know JD, this is beautiful!

  2. WoopieCushion says:

    Nothing is better than the Litany of Saints sung over our weary world. More..more names to be sung, O Lord!

  3. mmtittle77 says:

    What a beautifully written poetic Litany…can’t wait to read more- yay, this is our future Church!!
    Thanks for posting,

  4. […] that homilists for All Saints will find the seven “We Need Saints…” posts useful (One, Two, Three, Four, Five, Six, […]

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