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Saint Pius X - San Pio X

'The Pope of the Eucharist' - 257th Pope - from Italy
Born Giuseppe Sarto on 2 June 1835 in Riese, Lombardy-Venetia;
Ordained 18 September 1858; consecrated Bishop 20 November 1884;
Created Cardinal 12 June 1893; papacy began 4 August 1903.
Died in the Apostolic Palace, Rome, on 20 August 1914.
Beatified in 1951 & canonized on 29 May 1954 by Pope Pius XII
Feast Day - 21 August

On visiting Riese, the town of his birth, in 1985 Blessed John Paul II said: "He fought and suffered for the Church's freedom, and for this freedom he proved to be ready to sacrifice privileges and honours, to face misunderstanding and ridicule, since he considered this freedom as the ultimate guarantee for the integrity and coherence of the faith."

Pius X had a great love for Mary; in his encyclical Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum he wrote of renewing all things in Christ, declaring that there was no surer or more direct road than by Mary.

Andrew, who's 23 & from Wales, chose Pius X as his Incredible Saint: "Pius X died in 1914 at the time of the First World War. He couldn't comprehend the notion of Catholic fighting against Catholic and often seminarian being forced to fight against seminarian, whether they were German or English - that notion couldn't gel with his mind. He was said to have even prayed that God would accept him as a sacrifice, if to prevent the war. So we could say that he died of a broken heart almost."      ♦

Catechesis by Papa Benedict XVI
- in Croatian, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"Giuseppe Sarto, that was his name, was born into a peasant family in Riese, Treviso, in 1835. After studying at the Seminary in Padua he was ordained a priest when he was 23 years old. He was first curate in Tombolo, then parish priest at Salzano and then canon of the Cathedral of Treviso with the offices of episcopal chancellor and spiritual director of the Diocesan Seminary. In these years of rich and generous pastoral experience, the future Pontiff showed that deep love for Christ and for the Church, that humility and simplicity and great charity to the needy which characterized his entire life. In 1884 he was appointed Bishop of Mantua, and in 1893, Patriarch of Venice. On 4 August 1903, he was elected Pope, a ministry he hesitated to accept since he did not consider himself worthy of such a lofty office.

Pius X's Pontificate left an indelible mark on the Church's history and was distinguished by a considerable effort for reform that is summed up in his motto: Instaurare Omnia in Christo, "To renew all things in Christ". Indeed, his interventions involved various ecclesiastical contexts. From the outset he devoted himself to reorganizing the Roman Curia; he then began work on the Code of Canon Law which was promulgated by his Successor Benedict XV. He later promoted the revision of the studies and formation programme of future priests and founded various regional Seminaries, equipped with good libraries and well-qualified teachers. Another important sector was that of the doctrinal formation of the People of God. Beginning in his years as parish priest, he himself had compiled a catechism and during his Episcopate in Mantua he worked to produce a single, if not universal catechism, at least in Italian. As an authentic Pastor he had understood that the situation in that period, due partly to the phenomenon of emigration, made necessary a catechism to which every member of the faithful might refer, independently of the place in which he lived and of his position. As Pontiff, he compiled a text of Christian doctrine for the Diocese of Rome that was later disseminated throughout Italy and the world. Because of its simple, clear, precise language and effective explanations, this "Pius X Catechism", as it was called, was a reliable guide to many in learning the truths of the faith.

Pius X paid considerable attention to the reform of the Liturgy and, in particular, of sacred music in order to lead the faithful to a life of more profound prayer and fuller participation in the Sacraments. In the Motu Proprio Tra le Sollecitudini (1903), the first year of his Pontificate, he said that the true Christian spirit has its first and indispensable source in active participation in the sacrosanct mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church. For this reason he recommended that the Sacraments be received often, encouraging the daily reception of Holy Communion and appropriately lowering the age when children receive their First Communion "to about seven", the age "when a child begins to reason".

Faithful to the task of strengthening his brethren in the faith, in confronting certain trends that were manifest in the theological context at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, Pius X intervened decisively, condemning "Modernism" to protect the faithful from erroneous concepts and to foster a scientific examination of the Revelation consonant with the Tradition of the Church. On 7 May 1909, with his Apostolic Letter Vinea Electa, he founded the Pontifical Biblical Institute. The last months of his life were overshadowed by the impending war. His appeal to Catholics of the world, launched on 2 August 1914 to express the bitter pain of the present hour, was the anguished plea of a father who sees his children taking sides against each other. He died shortly afterwards, on 20 August, and the fame of his holiness immediately began to spread among the Christian people.

Dear brothers and sisters, St Pius X teaches all of us that at the root of our apostolic action in the various fields in which we work there must always be close personal union with Christ, to cultivate and to develop, day after day. This is the essence of all his teaching, of all his pastoral commitment. Only if we are in love with the Lord shall we be able to bring people to God and open them to his merciful love and thereby open the world to God's mercy."

BXVI - Wednesday General Audience - 18 August 2010 - video - © Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Pope Saint Pius X's Encyclicals:

E Supremi (4 October 1903) - on the Restoration of all things in Christ
- in English, French, Italian & Latin

Ad Diem Illum Laetissimum (2 February 1904) - on the Immaculate Conception
- in English & French

Iucunda Sane (12 March 1904) - on Pope Gregory the Great
- in English & French

Acerbo Nimis (15 April 15 1905) - on Teaching Christian Doctrine
- in English & French

Il Fermo Proposito (11 June 1905) - on Catholic Action in Italy
- in English, French & Italian

Vehementer Nos (11 February 11 1906) - on the French Law of Separation
- in English & French

Tribus Circiter (5 April 1906) - on the Mariavites or Mystic Priests of Poland
- in English

Pieni L'Animo (28 July 1906) - on the Clergy in Italy
- in English

Gravissimo Officii Munere (10 August 1906) - on French Associations of Worship in France
- in English

Une Fois Encore (6 January 1907) - on the Separation of Church and State in France
- in English & French

Pascendi Dominici Gregis (8 September 1907) - on the Doctrines of the Modernists
- in English, French, Italian, Latin, Portuguese & Spanish

Communium Rerum (21 April 1909) - on Saint Anselm of Aosta
- in English & Italian

Editae Saepe (26 May 1910) - on Saint Charles Borromeo
- in English, Italian & Latin

Iamdudum (24 May 1911) - on the Law of Separation in Portugal
- in English & Latin

Lacrimabili Statu (7 June 1912) - on the Indians of South America
- in English

Singulari quadam (24 September 1912) - on Labour Organizations in Germany
- in English & Latin