What’s In a Name: Welcoming Our New Baby!


Serafina Xenia Joanna–Born May 6th, 7 lbs & 20 in.

Our baby is finally here! On May 6th little Serafina Xenia Joanna was born! Thanks be to God everything went well. So many people prayed for us during the pregnancy and delivery, we can’t express how grateful we are for all the prayers. With all of the health issues and surgeries I went through during this pregnancy, labor day felt like it was never going to come. So much so that I was really unprepared for labor, mentally and emotionally, just unprepared. But we made it!

I’m looking at my beautiful little girl and feeling so much love, and gratitude for her being born healthy. The kids are so excited to have their sister home, it amazes me how much love they can have for one another.

I often feel overwhelmed at the end of pregnancy. I’ll start wondering ‘how will I manage another baby’ and think about the responsibility only. Manny and I were talking in the hospital just after Serafina was born. We were both feeling the same way–‘how are gonna do this with all that is already going on in life.’ Once Serafina was here and we held her in our arms all of that left. Now we are only filled with love and gratitude for this little blessing. Manny said, “We can do this, this is easy, we’ve done it before.” we’ve been home over a week now and he is right. With Sera being number nine, this feels so easy and the older kids are being a big help.

People often ask how we handle having a large family. I can tell by the questions and comments that people wonder if the kids get enough attention and love. After spending time with our kids, I have heard them make comments in amazement at how well behaved, intelligent, and loving the kids are!!! I try to not let these comments bug me, realizing that (sadly) a large family is a novelty these days. People need to realize, with more kids in the house love is multiplied, not divided! Little Sera coming home has increased the love and joy in the house for sure!

Now about little Serafina Xenia Joanna’s names. On the naming of children from St. John Chrysostom:

“So let the name of the saints enter our homes through the naming of our children, to train not only the child but the father, when he reflects that he is the father of John or Elijah or James; for, if the name be given with forethought to pay honor to those that have departed, and we grasp at our kinship with the righteous rather than with our forebears, this too will greatly help us and our children. Do not because it is a small thing regard it as small; its purpose is to succor us.”

This is a great quote on naming children. I love how St. John says,”So let the names of the saints enter our homes through the naming of our children.” What a beautiful thought. The saints entering into our lives, our little families, by giving them to our children as patrons. And of course the great saint is right, this is no small thing the naming of a child. We all know this. Naming something or someone is one way God made Adam co-creator with Him in the garden; it is a sacred act. We all know this intuitively. There is always the joke about finding a lost animal and making sure not to name it (because everyone knows once you name it…)!

It is not a thing to take lightly, giving children names. In doing so we are giving them patrons to watch over and guide them. And as St. John said this should absolutely remind us of the great responsibility we have as parents to not only give our children holy patrons but to raise them up to follow their patrons example. Whether we follow the saints example will be what will teach and influence our children the most.

So our little one was given three names because we just couldn’t decide and we figured, hey we are Hispanic we will go with a long name!

We debated about the first name between Josefina (for St. Joseph of Arimathea) or Serafina (after the angels and St. Seraphim of Sarov). Well after the baby was born Manny looked at the Church calendar and guess who’s feast it was? St. Seraphim’s, but not Seraphim of Sarov. May 6th is the feast of Seraphim the Struggler of Mount Domvu. Well, during the pregnancy and all the surgeries I kept asking the angels to cover the baby with their wings and keep her safe (especially during the surgeries). With that, asking God (and the saints) to help us to choose the right patron and it being St. Seraphim’s feast day, we knew her patron chose her and we had better go with  it!

Xenia is for St. Xenia of St. Petersburg. She is Manny’s favorite saint. He calls her “Nana Xenia” and we have sought her help for years about many things. Among other things, she has helped with jobs, being able to purchase a home, and moving. We figured it was about time we named one of our children after her.

Joanna is for St. Joanna the Myrrhbearer who is my patron saint (Jessica is a derivation of Joanna). Manny’s mom is also named Joann. With is being Pascha season still it seemed appropriate. The baby can now share the feast of the Myrrhbearing women with Magdalena and me and also be named after her wonderful Abuela!

Every pregnancy I always pray about the children’s names, asking the saints to let me know who the child should be named after…they always answer.  🙂


  1. Your precious, little Serafina is absolutely beautiful!! Glory & thanks be to God that both mom & baby are doing well! I love these quotes…so true…!!

    “…with more kids in the house love is multiplied, not divided!”

    “So let the names of the saints enter our homes through the naming of our children.”

    God bless you as you recover & settle into a new routine with a new little soul in the home. 🙂

  2. Congratulations< I love the name for a beautiful baby.Manny my e mail address is fr.gabriel@Verizon.net
    May God bless you and the family.

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