Today is the feast of St.Nicholas the Wonderworker. Many places, people and professions have taken him as their patron. He is the patron saint of my own state of Alaska and of Russia; of fishermen and women and of children. It is the feast day St.Nicholas Orthodox Church, our neighbors in downtown Juneau. May you have the joy of the feast!
On his feast day in many countries, parents give gifts to their children on his feast day in remembrance of how he saved the three daughters of a poor man from being sold into slavery to pay off his debts by giving them each a bag of gold.
I think of St. Nicholas as the patron of modern day slaves, those who are trafficked around the world. Many of them, like the girls saved by St. Nicholas are trafficked because of poverty and indebtedness. Catholic Relief Services has made working to end trafficking, as well as climate change and the Syrian refugee crisis, one of the three top priorities of its program work in 2016/2017. To learn more about trafficking and efforts to end it, go to www.crs.org.