The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

The Catholic Church across Yorkshire's historic West Riding since 1878

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Safeguarding Saints’ Day: St Nicholas

December 6

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Upon the death of his rich parents, St Nicholas is said to have distributed their wealth to the poor, which may in part be the origin of his role as the gift-giver, ‘Santa Claus’ – but two other stories in particular about St Nicholas’ generosity and kindness explain why, amongst his many other patronages, St Nicholas is the Patron Saint of Children. The stories also illustrate why he is one of our ‘Safeguarding Saints’, protecting children from harm and rescuing girls from being forced into prostitution.

One tale concerns St Nicholas hearing of a man who had lost all his money and was unable to provide dowries for his three young daughters. At that time, with no marriage or work prospects the girls may well have had to support themselves through prostitution. Secretly, Nicholas placed three bags of gold as dowries for the girls – and as well as saving them from a life of danger and humiliation, further cemented his reputation for giving presents in secret and without expectation of thanks. A later story has St Nicholas rescuing three children who have been murdered, bringing them back to life by invoking the name of the Lord. The ‘literal’ truth of these stories is less relevant compared with the message that, like St Nicholas, it is our Christian duty to keep one another safe from harm – especially those who are most vulnerable – and to support our commitment to Safeguarding in our churches and communities.

If you have information of a safeguarding nature where a child or adult at risk is in immediate danger or requires immediate medical attention, call emergency services on 999. Diocese of Leeds Safeguarding can be contacted in confidence by email via or speak to our Safeguarding Team on 0113 2618046. Anyone who brings concerns or allegations to the notice of the Church will be responded to sensitively, respectfully and seriously. All concerns and allegations will be addressed using the Church’s national procedures and in a timely manner. The Catholic Safeguarding Standard Agency (CSSA) can also be contacted on 0207 901 1920 or via email at

Safeguarding is Everybody’s Business!

St Nicholas: pray for us!