St. Nicholas was a fourth century bishop who is recognized as the origin of the Santa Claus story. He was known for his generosity and his habit of secret gift giving.
Put Your Shoes Out
In many cultures the custom is for the children to leave a pair of shoes out when they go to bed on December 5. In the morning, they find that St. Nicholas has visited and left them a small treat or token. Here is how this tradition started:
It is said that there was a poor family in his village with three daughters. In those days, a girl needed a dowry to get married, but they did not have money to spare. St. Nicholas wanted to help them out but he wanted to do it without anyone knowing. He didn’t want to become proud of sharing what he had.
One night, while the family was sleeping, he quietly went up to their front door. The girls had left their shoes outside, so they wouldn’t track mud in their little house. Nicholas put several gold coins in each shoe. It was enough for the girls to get married.
This is why we put shoes out on the eve of his feast day.
Patron Saint of …
St. Nicholas is the patron of children, those seeking husbands, coopers, sailors, fishermen, merchants, broadcasters, the falsely accused, repentant thieves, brewers, pharmacists, archers, and pawnbrokers.
Mass Readings for the Optional Memorial of Saint Nicholas, Bishop
- First Reading – Isaiah 6:1-8: “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?’ ‘Here I am,’ I said; ‘send me!’”
- Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 40: “Here I am, Lord; I come to do your will.”
- Gospel – Luke 10:1-9: “Go on your way; behold, I am sending you like lambs among wolves. Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals; and greet no one along the way.”
The giver of every good and perfect gift has called upon us to mimic God’s giving, by grace, through faith, and this is not of ourselves.St. Nicholas