Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Crispin, Crispinian and Christopher: A "Blessed" that's been Confirmed

With "crisp" names like Crispin and Crispinian, it is tempting to blog about the two second century brothers who were shoemakers and martyrs. But I'll leave it to NIKE to exploit that story; today I'm writing about a blessed intercessor I never knew I had.

Back in the fifth grade, I chose Christopher for my confirmation name for what I thought were two very good reasons.

First, I loved the story of the kind, tall guy who carried people across a deep river, eventually carrying across the Christ Child Himself. Also, I was trying out for the fifth grade basketball team, and I figured I really could use some of St. Chris' height. But things didn't turn out as I planned; St. Christopher's legend was deemed questionable and his feast was dropped from the Church calendar. I never grew past 5'8", and all I was left with was the dubious nickname TACO (Thomas Augustine Christopher O'Toole). So while I haven't given up on the patron (saint?) of travelers, I'm happy to discover a namesake in Blessed Christopher of Romagna.

This Christopher was a secular priest when he, like Mother Teresa, found a "vocation within a vocation" when he encountered St. Francis of Assisi at the age of 40. After joining the Friars Minor, Christopher was sent by Francis to France to combat the Albigensians. He succeeded not only in combating this heresy, but in establishing Franciscan Houses throughout Southern France. And despite his austere lifestyle and continued close contact with lepers, Christopher lived (according to one biography) to the ripe old age of 100. Like the other Christopher, his legacy was challenged for accuracy, but there proved to be enough information for becoming blessed if not yet a saint.

So now that I have an official confirmation name intercessor in heaven, I figure the least I could do is pray to him asking his help regarding my blog. I'm not sure if Christopher praying my Catholic writing career to prominence would be considered the miracle he needed for sainthood. But it sure might make the TACO moniker seem less tacky.

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