St Nicholas, a gentle reminder of Christmases past
St Nicholas was born in Patara (Lycia) in about 270 and died c.343. He was bishop of Myra Asia Minor in what is now Turkey. His parents were said to be wealthy Christians and the young Nicholas was very religious from an early age. After his parents died of the plague he was taken in by his uncle who was the bishop of Myra.
His cult is early and his reputation as a miracle worker very strong. His reputation spread widely from about the 6th century and became widely known in the West from about the 10th century. When the Muslims invaded Myra in 1078, his relics were translated by Italian sailors to Bari, Italy, where many Greeks had taken refuge. He is particularly venerated in Russia where his name is popular to this day and many Russians make a pilgrimage to Bari. Each year on his feast day there is a strange oily secretion emanating from his shrine. This was noted before his translation and continued afterwards in Bari. This substance known as manna is said to have healing qualities .Where children should be looking to St Nicholas as a guide to lead them to Jesus this Advent tide, sadly the media of today give children celebrities. Often these celebrities are pop stars, or actors on programmes they see during primetime television, whose antics on the screen are little more than selling their bodies along with sexual lyrics and dialogues. St Nicholas is their saint as well for all can find redemption by turning to Jesus.
Catholic parents, if you do not already do so, tell your children the true story of St Nicholas this Advent and Christmas.