On the second Sunday of Advent, just before the feast of St. Nicholas on December 6th, the children of our parish were visited by St. Nick. He was garbed in the vestments of a Bishop with a red cape and a mitre atop his head while in one hand he held his crozier and in the other a basket of sweets to surprise the children after the 9:00 AM English Mass and the 1:00 PM Polish Mass. The children appeared a little frightened at the sight, because they apparently did not always behave as they should, however, St. Nicholas was very charitable and praised them all.
St. Nicholas is best known for his good deeds (i.e.: distributing his entire estate to the poor) and, especially, for being the first prominent figure to hand out presents to children. He is often characterized as an elderly man with a stately beard holding his crozier and wearing his mitre while clutching a bag of presents and a bunch of golden-rods. On December 6th, the anniversary of this saint’s death; children who have been good receive sweets, while those who have been bad receive a caning.
One of the stories told was that of an individual who became impoverished and decided to sell off his three daughters. When the Bishop found out about this, he traveled to their home at night and threw three money-bags down the chimney. These bags landed in the girl’s stockings and shoes, which were stored near the chimney to dry. As a result, in countries where chimneys were in regular use the tradition of hanging stockings became popular. While in places where chimneys were not used, St. Nick would quietly put the present underneath the pillow of a sleeping child or perhaps, like in our parish, the present was given in church by St. Nick, personally.
We thank you, St. Nicholas, for the kindness you showed to our children by greeting them and distributing the sweets. And, we invite you to come back to our parish next year.
And so we pray:
Merciful God, through the intercession of St. Nicholas, we humbly beseech you to protect us from all harm, so that we can safely tread the road that will lead to our salvation. Amen