Celebrating Saints: John Chrysostom

Share this article:

FEAST DAY: September 13


John lived in Greece a long time ago. His father died when John was young, so he lived with his mom and his sister. He was a very good student. John decided to become a priest and was ordained in 386. He was a powerful speaker, and many people came to hear him talk about the Gospels. He is called a Doctor of the Church because of his great understanding of what the Church teaches and how he shared his ideas with others.

Cared for the poor

He was named bishop of Constantinople in 397 but continued to lead a simple life. He sold the expensive furniture in the bishop’s house and donated the money to help people in need. John cared about the poor, children who were orphans, and the sick. He did whatever he could to help them.

Reminded people to share

John reminded people that we are called to share what we have with others. He said, “Not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor; we do not possess our own wealth but theirs.” He knew that God gave us the resources of our world to be shared by all. His words speak to our lives today.

Spoke the truth

As a bishop, he spoke out when he saw people doing the wrong thing — even if they were powerful. This made him many enemies, but he was a person of courage and did not back down. We can remember his example when we are ridiculed for doing what is right. He died in the year 407 after being exiled. His last words were, “Glory be to God for all things.”

What we can do

■ Talk about this saint. Where did he live? What did he do when he grew up? Why did people come to hear him? What did he do as a bishop? Who did he help? How was he a person of courage? What were his last words?

■ Create a colorful cross with your group. Cut a large cross out of poster board or make one out of wood. Write “Follow Jesus” in the middle. Ask the young people to write their names on the cross using colorful markers. This reminds them that each of us is called to follow Jesus Christ in our lives.

■ Help people in your community. Read again the words of this saint about sharing what we have with others. Help young people think of ways to help those in need, such as collecting school supplies for children living in a shelter, donating food to a soup kitchen, or making cards for elderly people in a care center.


Loving God, give us the courage to stand up for what is right as St. John Chrysostom did. May we care more about what you think than the opinions of others. Help us to remember that you call us to share the resources of our world with others. Fill our hearts with compassion for people in need. Amen.

3 St. Gregory the Great
9 St. Peter Claver
16 Sts. Cornelius & Cyprian
17 St. Robert Bellarmine
20 Sts. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn & Paul Chŏng Ha-sang
21 St. Matthew
23 St. Pius of Pietrelcina
26 Sts. Cosmas & Damian
27 St. Vincent de Paul
30 St. Jerome


PATRICIA MATHSON, MRE, has years of experience as a director of religious education. She has authored many books, including her latest: 33 Mass Lessons and Activities for Children from Twenty-Third Publications.


This article was originally published in Catechist, September, 2019.

Share this article: