Lakeshore Academy for the New Evangelization
Make Disciples, Be Witnesses


PRAY 250: The Saints in the Life of the Church

PRAY 250: The Saints in the Life of the Church


Mondays from September 16 to October 28

6:30-8 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lake

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Class Description

"In one Spirit we were all baptized into one body," joined to one another so closely that "if one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy" (1 Corinthians 12:13, 26). Consequently, the lives of Christians who dwell on earth are closely bound to those who already dwell in heavenly glory. This class will examine our relationship with the saints as teachers, companions, patrons, and exemplars. While learning the stories of many saints, we will also consider the means offered by the Church to deepen our ties with these holy men and women, for the sake of God's glory and our own salvation.


  1. The Communion of Saints: Baptism unites us both to Christ, the Head, and to all other members of his Body, both living and deceased.  The bond shared by Christians naturally results in the sharing of spiritual goods, giving the Communion of Saints a twofold meaning: communion in holy things and among holy persons. This overview of the ties that bind the Church Militant (on earth), Church Suffering (in purgatory), and Church Triumphant (in heaven), will lay the foundation for the classes to follow.

  2. How to Recognize a Saint: The crowds gathering for the funeral of Pope St. John Paul II took up the cry “Santo subito!”, demanding that the Church immediately declare the pope a saint. Yet it is one thing to have a reputation for virtue and quite another to be officially acknowledged as one of the saints in glory. This class will explore historic and current means by which the Church declares men and women to be saints.

  3. Models of the Christian Life and Mystery: The lives of the saints provide examples of holiness while also giving us a window into the life of Christ, who works within them. This class will consider how to read the lives of the saints as “narrative theology” that reveals what it means, and what it takes, to be united to Christ.

  4. Teachers of the Mind and Heart: While many saints teach only by example, others make a point of leaving formal guidance for posterity. This class will examine two ways in which to turn to the saints as teachers: 1) orienting ourselves by the intellectual light of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and 2) sharing the spirituality of saints who left behind individual and communal rules for life.

  5. Liturgical Prayer to and with the Saints: Through her daily and yearly cycle of prayer, the Church calls upon the saints for help, praises God for his role in their lives, and finds inspiration for her current efforts.

  6. An Enduring Presence: Often separated from our earthly lives by great distances of time and space, the saints in heaven are never separate from us, not even from our bodily experience. This class will examine two sensory means by which to cultivate our relationship with the friends of God: relics and images.

  7. Popular Piety and Patronage: Though every saint is available as an intercessor before the throne of God, certain saints have over time developed reputations as special friends for certain people, places, and needs. This class will examine various unofficial ways, both ordinary and outlandish, in which Catholics call upon their patron saints.

The quality of the lectures by Dr. Sanders was of the highest caliber. He was very knowledgeable and I enjoyed his lectures. He had excellent organization and content. He was also engaging and made class interesting and learning fun.
— A LANE Student on Dr. Aaron Sanders

Instructor: Dr. Aaron Sanders

Dr. Sanders is the director of worship for the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Prior to coming to Grand Rapids, he served as the director of the Office of Divine Worship for the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina. His previous roles include serving as a director of liturgy, a theology professor, and a sacristan. He earned his bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from the University of Notre Dame.

Catechist Certification Credits

1.5 CEU or 7 DFH in Spirituality or Professional Theology

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