St. Nicholas – aka Father Gary Copping…

…sainted side of Santa

Father Gary Copping, pastor of St. Joseph Church and Shrine on the West Bank, had a fun teaching moment with wide-eyed Zachary Clinton Dec. 3 when he dressed as St. Nicholas to pose for Christmas pictures with children and adult parishioners. Father Copping first got the idea while “window shopping” on the internet for vestments and came across a St. Nicholas vestment kit, complete with red miter, stole and shoes and a gold-painted crozier. He first wore the outfit for Halloween in 2016 but thought he could use if for a loftier purpose. The only change he made was growing his full beard. He went on a mission trip to Bolivia in June and has not shaved since. The only thing he did was to spray his beard lightly with some white-gray paint. “The polyester beard and hair were too hot to wear for a long time,” Father Copping said. “I think the people really enjoyed it. It was nice. They were surprised how full the beard is.” Father Copping, 50, says he’ll probably join the shave club in January.

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