Q. I have believed in St. Christopher and carried a medal of him for over 40 years. Now I have heard that the Catholic Church no longer considers him a saint. Is that true? I would be grateful for any information you can provide on this matter.
A. You can relax: Christopher is still recognized as a saint and as the patron of travelers. The Catholic Church has a worldwide calendar of saints, that is, people who are celebrated everywhere (for example, St. Mary, St. Joseph and Sts. Peter and Paul). A little more than half the days of the year have such a saint designated. There are also national or diocesan calendars. St. Juan Diego, who received the visions of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531, is on the calendar in Mexico and in the United States but is not on the worldwide calendar. The same is true of St. Theodora Guerin, who came to Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana, with five Sisters of Providence in 1840 and was canonized in 2006.
St. Christopher was removed from the worldwide calendar in 1970 but is on some local calendars. He lived in modern-day Turkey and was martyred around 251 A.D. His name means “Christ-bearer,” and so the story arose much later in the West that he made his living by carrying people across a river. One day he carried a child who was extremely heavy. The child revealed that he was Christ and thus the saint was carrying the whole world on his shoulders. One estimate is that the Church formally recognizes over 10,000 saints. Only a few of them are on the worldwide calendar.
There is no need to give up your St. Christopher medal or your devotion to him.