1. Religion & Spirituality
Scott P. Richert

Novena of the Week: Prayer of Impetration to Saint Nicholas

By November 26, 2013

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In the first or second week of Advent (depending on the year), we celebrate the feast of Saint Nicholas of Myra, who, among other things, is the patron saint of the Byzantine Catholic Church.Icon of Saint Nicholas of Myra, bishop and wonderworker. (Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.) For Byzantine Catholics, Saint Nicholas's feast day, December 6, represents a moment of levity in the midst of their Advent fast, spaced as it is approximately halfway between the feast of the Apostle Philip and the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, more commonly known in the West as Christmas.

Saint Nicholas, of course, is the model for the modern-day Santa Claus (see Reader Question: Is Santa Claus Saint Nicholas? for more details), but the details of his life (both those established by history and those attributed to him by legend) are infinitely more interesting. Noted during his life for his generosity and orthodoxy (at a time—the fourth century—when orthodoxy was under attack), Saint Nicholas earned the title "Wonder-Worker" for the many miracles attributed to him during his life and, especially, after his death.

As we prepare to celebrate the feast of this great bishop, I have chosen a Prayer of Impetration to Saint Nicholas as our novena this week. (Begin the novena on November 27 to finish it on the eve of his feast.) Don't be put off by the word impetration—it's just a fancy way of saying "petition." And in this prayer, we present our petitions to Saint Nicholas, who, in the glory of Heaven, offers them in turn to God on our behalf. It's the Communion of Saints in practice (see Why Do Catholics Pray to Saints?), and what a great intercessor we have in Saint Nicholas!

(Icon of Saint Nicholas of Myra, bishop and wonderworker. Photo © Slava Gallery, LLC; used with permission.)

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