Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Feast of Pope Saint Pius X

Memorial (1969 Calendar): August 21

Double (1955 Calendar): September 3

Pope Saint Pius X was born at Riese, a small village in Venetia, Italy, on June 2, 1835. His name, prior to his election as pope, was Joseph Sarto. He lived in a poor family - one of eight children. He was baptised on June 3, 1835, and confirmed on September 1, 1848. He was ordained a priest at the age of 33 and worked for seventeen years as a parish priest before becoming Bishop of Mantua. In 1892, Joseph Sarto advanced to the metropolitan see of Venice with the honorary title of patriarch. On August 4, 1903, he was elected Pope of the Holy Catholic Church. He is a much revered by traditionalists.

Pope Saint Pius X venerated at the Holy Grail Retreat

Pope Saint Pius X announced in his first encyclical that his papacy would seek to "to renew all things in Christ." He is primarily remembered for allowing children to receive First Holy Communion at a much younger age - the age of 7 instead of 12 or 14. He said, "Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven." Consequently, he encouraged frequent reception of Holy Communion. He is also remembered for bringing Gregorian Chant back, encouraging daily Bible reading and establishing various Biblical institutes, reorganising the Roman Curia, taking a stand against Modernism, which he called the "synthesis of all heresies."  His Holiness issued the Oath Against Modernism from his Motu Proprio Sacrorum Antistitum on 1 September 1910.  He also worked on the codification of Canon Law.

It was nearly on the 11th anniversary of his election as pope when World War I broke out. Bronchitis soon developed for Pope Saint Pius X. He died on August 20, 1914, to what he called "the last affliction that the Lord will visit on me" due to worrying over World War I. He is buried under the altar of the chapel of the Presentation in Saint Peter's basilica.

In his will, Pope Saint Pius X said, "I was born poor, I have lived poor, I wish to die poor." He was canonised on May 29, 1954, by Pope Pius XII - the first Pope canonised since Saint Pius V in 1672.

Patron of: Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia; diocese of Des Moines, Iowa: first communicants; diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana; pilgrims; diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.


O God, Who to safeguard Catholic faith and to restore all things in Christ, didst fill the Supreme Pontiff, Saint Pius, with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fortitude: grant in Thy mercy: that by striving to fulfill his ordinances and to follow his example, we may reap eternal rewards. Through the same our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal

Photographs from the Canonisation of Pope Saint Pius X:

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