Why the Name Saint Matthew's Churches

Saint Matthew the apostle according to tradition, preached the Good News of Jesus Christ in Palestine and conducted missionary campaigns in other nations. Today, Saint Matthew's Churches continues to proclaim the Good News that the Apostle preached almost two thousand years ago.

Since they lived their dynamic life, posterity has given several of the apostles abiding renown. Colleges and cities have been named after them. Cathedrals and churches have borne their names. Ships, hospitals, orphanages, and children have been called after them. Think of how we still use their names in family life! In 1950 Elsdon C. Smith wrote a fascinating book bearing the title, The Story of Our Names, in which he gives carefully compiled lists of the most common names of males and females in America only, at that time. Among those early Christians who still live on in their names others bear, we have the following:

Name Estimated Number
John 5,837,000
James 2,998,000
Thomas 1,910,000
Paul 361,000
Andrew 342,000
Peter 334,000
Philip 298,000
Stephen 273,000
Nathaniel 180,000
Matthew 105,000
Timothy 83,000

Multiply these apostolic names carried by Americans in one decade by those in all decades, not only in the United States, but the world over, and then you have overwhelming evidence of the continuing influence of those disciples who bore and honored these names in the first century. Their sway and names remain. Matthew lives on, not only in his name, and in the gospel bearing it, but also in the heart-moving Passion, which the composer dedicated to the memory of the apostle. Further, some of the greatest pieces of architecture such as St. Paul's Cathedral, London, have been dedicated to them, and some of the greatest masterpieces of painting, such as The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci, have represented their faces. Millions of people in the Roman Catholic Church have prayed to some of the apostles who became canonized as Saints. As for books about them and their labors, fictional and otherwise, the number is colossal. One thinks of the gripping novel on Peter, by Lloyd C. Douglas, The Big Fisherman. The crowns of immortality truly belong to those first missionaries, sent forth by Christ into all the world. We are indebted to John Boyle O'Reilly for the verse:

Great men grow greater by the lapse
of time;
We know those least whom we have
seen the latest;
And they, 'mongst those whose names
have grown sublime,
Who worked for human liberty are greatest.

The Gospel according to Saint Matthew is the first Book of the Gospels and also contains the famous Great Commission (Saint Matthew 28:16-20), which is central to our mission and ministry. For this reason we chose this apostle, whose life had been touched, changed and shaped by Christ to name our church after.

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