Pope Francis’s Missionary Intention for December is:
That every country take the measures necessary to prioritise the future of the very young, especially those who are suffering.
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Nicholas, an early Greek Christian bishop who is counted as patron of children. Here he is with three little boys he is said to have rescued, his cope decorated with gold coins for the dowries he paid to protect three girls from human trafficking. He is holding an image of Barfrestone church in Kent; the Latin says ‘St Nicholas, patron of this church.’
Nicholas was a popular saint because he did what he could for children. Pope Francis is not thinking merely of governments looking after the children in their own countries, but of our care – we as members of our nations – doing what we can for the children in our own countries and elsewhere in the world. Even a packet of biscuits in the food bank, or a few pounds or euros to an education or health charity can provide for the future – perhaps the immediate future – of a child in danger.
On the feast of the patron of children, let us pray for children everywhere, and for all those who care for them, parents, teachers, health workers.
- Saint Nicholas, pray for us.
- Come Lord Jesus, Emmanuel.