On March 17th, many people around the world will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. “Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on …the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland” (Wikipedia). To some, a saint is a person who is recognized as being really, really good, or having an exceptional degree of holiness or closeness to God.
As matter of fact, the Catholic Church has established specific criteria that would enable one to be officially declared a “saint.”
(adapted from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27140646)
1) You must be dead. Unless there is a special waiver, the application for your sainthood cannot be filed until after you have been dead for 5 years.
2) After you have been dead for 5 years and there appears to be sufficient evidence to support your “sainthood,” the bishop of the diocese where you died can open an investigation into your life, to see whether you lived your life with sufficient holiness and virtue to be considered for sainthood. Once the case is accepted for consideration, you can be called a "servant of God".
3) The investigation must show proof that you lived a life of “heroic virtue.” Evidence must reveal that through your holiness, work, and signs, people have been drawn to prayer through your example. Once approved, it is passed to the Pope. If the Pope decides that you lived a life of "heroic virtue", you can then be called "venerable".
4) Next, your presence in heaven must be verified. A miracle needs to be attributed to prayers made to you after your death. That proves you are in heaven and able to intercede with God for people on earth. After beatification, you are given the title "blessed.”
5) Canonization is the final step in declaring you a saint. To reach this stage, a second miracle normally needs to be attributed to prayers made to you after you have been beatified.
If you make it all the way through, a canonization ceremony will be held for you. During the ceremony, the Pope conducts a special Mass, reading aloud your life’s history and then chanting a prayer in Latin that declares you a saint. Congratulations!
I’m certainly not an expert on the Catholic faith. But, I can tell you that the Bible gives us a different picture of those whom God considers saints. “The term “saint” or “saints” is found in the Bible about 100 times, about three dozen in the Old Testament and 62 of which appear in the New Testament. The word “saints” is the regular and common reference used for all of the members of the New Testament church that the Lord established when he was on the earth.” (https://www.deseret.com/2012/4/22/20501425/comparing-the-use-of-christian-and-saint-in-scriptures)
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:2). And Luke wrote, “Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda” (Acts 9:32; underline mine).
If you have been sanctified in Christ Jesus (you know Jesus as your Savior), then Scripture calls you a saint! The question is not whether we are saints. It is whether we are living like saints!
Now, if you are Irish (some say that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day), go celebrate your Irish culture. And, don’t forget to wear green!
You are loved!
P.S. My mother was an “Ogletree.” Her ancestors came from Ireland!