“O who loves Nicholas the Saintly”

Thoughts On Celebrating A Birthday On The Feast Of St. Nicholas

Prior to writing this Christmas issue column, I was tasking my brain , trying to figure out what I could say that would have some impact during this Nativity season.

I’m a layperson, so I didn’t want to get into a deep theological discussion regarding the birth of Christ. Priests and deacons of the Archeparchy will be relaying those important messages over the next few weeks.

“Maybe I should write about my favorite Christmas presents I’ve received through years or Christmas television specials,” I thought to myself. Seems kind of trite. I should have something more important to offer. Hmm.
Back to the proverbial drawing board.

Then it hit me; it was so obvious. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees and all that… I was born on Dec. 6 the Feast of St. Nicholas and I’ve always been happy to share my birthday and a kinship with the patron saint.
I was baptized at St. Mary in Monessen, Pa. and have heard stories that the thought of naming me after St. Nicholas crossed some minds.

St. Nicholas delivers presents Dec. 3 at the 61st St. Nicholas Charity Dinner at St.John the Baptist Cathedral Center in Munhall, Pa. The event, sponsored by the Greek Catholic Union and the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh, benefits the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of SS. Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh, Pa. Photo by Nick Havrilla Sr.

But I think “Nick Mayernik” would be have been too much for me to take. St. Nicholas known as “Nicholas the Wonderworker” and for his works of mercy looms large in our Byzantine Catholic faith. His hymn, “O Who Loves Nicholas the Saintly,” is wellknown at this time of the year:

“O who loves Nicholas the Saintly O who serves Nicholas the Saintly Them will Nicholas receive and give help in time of need Holy Father Nicholas”

The Archeparchy of Pittsburgh even holds its annual charity dinner to benefit the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of
SS. Cyril and Methodius to coincide with St. Nicholas’ feast day. St. Nicholas’ history of helping the poor and the less fortunate is a legacy difficult for anyone to duplicate.

But perhaps it’s all in the striving. St. Nicholas is a role model for anyone but forgive me if I feel a special bond with him. Even if my first name isn’t “Nick.” I’ll end 2017 with the final few lines of my favorite Christmas poem, “E.B. White’s Christmas,” published in The New Yorker on Dec. 20, 1952 and written by the author of beloved children’s books “Stuart Little” and “Charlotte’s Web.”

It’s worth Google-ing to read the entire poem.

“And last, we greet all skaters on small natural ponds at the edge of woods toward the end of afternoon. Merry Christmas, skaters! Ring, steel! Grow red, sky! Die down, wind! Merry Christmas to all and to all a good morrow!”

Have a blessed Christmas and
a healthy 2018!