In 1969, St. Christopher was removed from the official calendar of the saints by the Catholic Church on the basis that his life could not be confirmed as more than legend.
St. Christopher has been demoted,
our patron saint of travelers,
borne across the world on thin chains
round the necks of the intrepid, the brave,
wanderers who carry in their pockets
maps with tiny crosses
worn away at their tired folds.
They wanted proof that each saint lived.
No pagan imitators or legends allowed.
Who would go?
Would it be Blaise,
invoked against ills of the throat
and for the protection of pets,
or Giles, saint of cripples,
beloved of beggars and blacksmiths?
No, it had to be Christopher,
the one for those always looking
for home in the next town away.
Now he wanders around morose,
goes by “Chris,” meets weekly
with the ex-saints club.
They reminisce about the golden days
when they were the stars of shrines,
bearers of the world’s prayers.
They rage against the injustice of it,
their miracles proclaimed and then discounted
like flowers dropped from the bud.
Chris remembers, bitterly,
the weight of Christ,
that child as heavy as lead
and all the sins of the world,
as he bore him across the rushing river
and set him safely down.
His shoulders never felt the same.
And all the travelers wander
unprotected, delicate twigs in a wild wind.
Chris passes among them, hitches a ride
down the same desolate roads
and wonders, like they do, if anyone notices