Celebrate St. Nicholas in Parishes

by Anne E. Neuberger
Dutch Sinterklaas Postcard
Postcard, Netherlands, designed by Monica Maas Used by permission.
St Nicholas Center Collection
  • Because his feast day comes at the beginning of Advent, St. Nicholas is an excellent subject for a parish Advent retreat. Learning traditional songs, making surprises that could be taken home to be given to unsuspecting family members or neighbors, and a reading of some of these stories could put many in the spirit of giving as well as anticipation.
  • St. Nicholas's life exemplified many aspects of Christianity. One of these stories could be used as a homily for a children's Mass.
  • A "Secret St. Nicholas" program can be organized within a parish (or within a program of the parish, such as a youth group) where parishioners live relatively close. Interested people are asked to sign up, giving names and ages of the people in their household, as well as their address. This information can be placed into a box, and all who have signed up then choose, at random, the information about another household. Then, over the course of Advent, little surprises can be done for the chosen household. Sometime before Epiphany, the identity of the "secret St. Nicholases" could be revealed, on an individual basis, or at a gathering. A group could choose instead not to reveal the gift-givers' identities, just as St. Nicholas did not. However, learning the identity of the givers can be a community builder within a group.

  • The script Midnight Missions could be used in a retreat, in Sunday school programs, or as a homily.

From St. Nicholas: The Wonder Worker by Anne E. Neuberger, copyright © 2000 Our Sunday Visitor. Used by permission.
Collection of 18 stories drawn from St. Nicholas' life and others which have grown up around him over the centuries. For older children or reading aloud to younger ones. Purchase from amazon.com, amazon.ca or amazon.uk.

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