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A Word About Our Patron

From the many stories and legends associated with the name of Saint Christopher, one image has been consistent. That image is of a man who is strong, simple, kind and completely dedicated to one thing: serving the Lord by serving others.

According to ancient and popular tradition, Offerus (who after his conversion became known as Christopher) lived in Asia Minor somewhere during the third century. He was a man of enormous size and strength who resolved to serve only the strongest and the bravest. After many poor choices and unsuccessful attempts at finding a master to serve, Christopher became disillusioned. When he was about to give up, Christopher met a holy hermit who told him to offer his allegiance to Christ, instructed him in the Faith and baptized him. Having no gift for reaching, fasting or prayer, which were the customary practice4s of the good Christian, he searched for some other way of showing his love of God. An inspiration came to him. He went to a certain stream whose current was so dangerous that travelers were often swept away while trying to cross it. Here, Christopher built a hut for shelter, then stationed himself on the bank and carried across all who came to him. He was like a human ferry boat!

One day, a little child appeared and asked to be carried. Christopher lifted the child in his great arms, placed him on his shoulder and started across the stream with his staff in his hand. At every step the load grew heavier, and Christopher nearly lost his balance in the rushing water. When they finally reached the other side, he put the child down saying: “Child, you have ut me in dire peril and have weighed so heavily on me that if I had carried the whole weight of the world upon my shoulders, it could not have burdened me more heavily.” The boy answered, “Fear not, Christopher, for not only have you borne the whole world on your shoulders, but Him who created the world” - for the Christ Child, bearing in His own arms the great world, had been Christopher’s burden. To prove that this was true, He told Christopher to re-cross the river and plant his staff in the ground beside his hut and soon it would burst into bloom. Obeying, Christopher was amazed to see that the next morning, the staff had grown into a palm tree bearing fruit. Christopher knew that he had finally found the Master he had been searching for! The miracle brought about the conversion of many people in the region, which angered the pagan king. In his fury, the king had Christopher thrown into prison, tortured and beheaded.

Christopher is loved and honored in the churches of both the Eastern and Western tradition. His feast day is celebrated on July 25. In addition to being the patron and protector of all travelers, he is the patron of drivers, porters, sailors, mariners, bachelors, bookbinders, and gardeners. He is also inv oked against lightning, storms, epilepsy and sudden death. His emblems are the tree, the Christ child, a staff and a stream.


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