Saint Of The Month

St. Nicholas

St. Nicholas was born in Asia Minor. He was named bishop of Myra, a poor and run-down diocese. When his wealthy parents died, he gave his wealth to the poor and devoted himself to the conversion of sinners.

Once he heard that a man who had become very poor intended to abandon his three daughters to prostitution because he could not afford a dowry for them to be married. Nicholas, the story goes, on three occasions threw a bag of gold through the window into the room of the sleeping father. His daughters soon were married. Later the father came to Nicholas, fell at his feet and said, "Nicholas, you are my helper. You have delivered my soul and my daughters' souls from hell."

This story and his many other works of charity led to the tradition of giving presents on Nicholas' feast day and at Christmas in his name. The name Santa Claus, in fact, evolved from his name.

Nicholas died at Myra in 350. He was present at the Council of Picea in 325 and condemned Arianism. His popularity, already great, increased when his relics were brought to Bari, Italy, in 1087. Both the Eastern and Western churches honor him. St. Nicholas is the patron saint of Russia, Greece, Apulia, Sicily and Lorraine. He is regarded as the special patron of children. His feast is December 6.

Gracious and good Lord,
we bless you on this feast of St. Nicholas,
your servant,
who is an example to us
of a life of charity and love.
May we see in his life
an invitation to imitate his good deeds.
Make us always mindful of the needs of others
and help us rejoice in the abundance
of your goodness around us.
Through Jesus our Lord.

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