In America, St. Nicholas went through many transformations and eventually Sinterklaas became Santa Claus. Instead of giving gifts on December 6, he became a part of the Christmas holiday. In the 1820 poem "An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Clarke Moore, he is described as a jolly, heavy man who comes down the chimney to leave presents for deserving children and drives a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. The cartoonist Thomas Nast added to the St. Nicholas legend with an 1881 drawing of Santa as wearing a red suit with white fur trim. Once a kind, charitable bishop, St. Nicholas had become the Santa Claus we know today.
St. Thomas parish, the first parish in Braddock, was established in 1854. As with many parishes, St. Thomas began as a mission church. What is different about the parish, however, is that the first mission chapel was not physically located in Braddock. In 1854 a chapel to serve the Catholics of Braddock and what is now the West Mifflin area was built across the river from Braddock on Tara Hill. This chapel did not have its own resident pastor, but was served from other parishes. It was neither named nor dedicated. As the population of Braddock grew, the inconvenience for the local Catholics of crossing the river and climbing a hill to attend Mass made the construction of a church in Braddock itself necessary. In 1859 work began on a church in Braddock. The cornerstone of the new church was laid on April 22, 1860 and the first Mass was celebrated the following October 10. The church was completed and dedicated on October 28, 1862 as St. Thomas. The last Mass was celebrated in the old chapel on Tara Hill on March 17, 1863.
Pope Stephen VI was made a Bishop (possibly against his will) by Pope Formosus who, during his reign, was excommunicated for leaving the Papal seat and “conspiring to destroy the papal see” (in other words, leaving the Vatican in an attempt to escape from being Pope). He was eventually forgiven and returned to Rome. When Stephen VI came the Papal Throne, he had the body of formosus dug up and put on trial (this is the famous Cadaver Synod (meeting) of 897 AD). Formosus was accused of various breaches of church law, of lying, and of pretending to be a Bishop when he wasn’t one. Stephen had Formosus’ papal clothing removed and two fingers from his right hand cut off. Formosus’ body was thrown in to the Tiber river. After the Synod, public opinion turned against Stephen. He was overthrown in an uprising and strangled to death.