Saint Pius X was the Pope of the Catholic Church from August 4 1903 until August 20 1914. He was born on June 2 1835 in Riese, Treviso, Italy with the birth name Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto and died on August 20 1914 at the age of 79 in Papal Palace, Vatican, Rome, Italy. We celebrate his feast day on August 21 every year in the Catholic Church.
|Saint Pius X, Pope Biography|
|Date of Birth||June 2 1835|
|Place of Birth||Riese, Treviso, Italy|
|Place of Work||Vatican City, Rome, Italy|
|Date of Death||August 20 1914 (aged 79)|
|Place of Death||Apostolic Palace, Rome, Italy|
|Feast Day||August 21|
|Beatification||By Pope Pius XII on June 3 1951 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City|
|Canonization||By Pope Pius XII on May 29 1954 in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City|
|Patron Saint of||
Saint Pius X, Pope Life History
Pope Pius X’s father was called Giovanni Battista Sarto, a cobbler by trade and a postman, and his mother was called Margherita Sanson. He was the second born in a family of ten children namely:
- Giuseppe Sarto
- Angelo Sarto
- Teresa Parolin-Sarto
- Rosa Sarto
- Antonia Dei Bei-Sarto
- Maria Sarto
- Lucia Boschin-Sarto
- Anna Sarto
- Pietro Sarto
Immediately after birth, he was baptized on June 3 1835. He hailed from a poor family and he maintained this lifestyle for himself and for his family even when he was the pope. Pope Pius X often said, “I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor.” He rejected any special favours that were advanced to his family so that his family may live just like other people in their locality.
He loved education and would walk about 6 kilometers to the parish school each day. After the priest there saw the intelligence and the zeal of the lad, he arranged a scholarship for him at the high school in Castelfranco.
When he was through with his studies at Castelfranco, he felt the call to become a priest but he did not know how to go about it. His parents encouraged him to join the Seminary his local priest arranged for him to enter the seminary at Padua. In November 1850, young Pius was tonsured, and finally on September 18 1858, after performing exemplarily in his studies, he was ordained as a priest at the cathedral in Castelfranco.
After his ordination, Pius became a curate at Tombolo Parish in Trentino, Italy. He attended to the needs of his parishioners for 8 years especially the poor. He organized adult classes at night for those who did not get a chance to go to school and also trained the parish choir to perfectly master the Gregorian Chants.
His parish priest commented that as opposed to him moulding and teaching the young curate, it was him who learned a lot from Pius. Saint Pius X was so zealous, full of good sense, and other God-given precious gifts. His parish priest predicted that, “someday he will wear the mitre, of that I am sure. After that who knows?”
In July 1867, at 32 years of age, he was named the parish priest of Salzano where his fame for helping the poor grew. He also restored the church and expanded the hospital. After nine years at Salzano, Saint Pius X was named as the canon of the cathedral and chancellor of the Diocese of Treviso. He also became Spiritual Director and Rector of the Treviso seminary.
He would, however, in spite of these many duties, go from the seminary into the city to teach catechism to the children. He also made it possible for children who attended public schools, where religion was banned, to attend religious instruction on Sundays.
In 1879, Bishop Federico Maria Zinelli of Treviso Diocese died, and Saint Pius X temporarily took over from him until a bishop was sent there. On November 10 1884, Pope Leo XIII appointed him the bishop of Mantua. The diocese of Mantua had many challenges that St Pius X met.
The government had suppressed the churches and monasteries and managed many religious institutions in the diocese of Mantua. The clergy had relaxed their religious vigour, and the Christians there were slowly turning to secularism.
As the bishop there, Saint Pius X embarked on reforming and strengthening the church. He started by rejuvenating the seminary where young priests started being ordained full of zeal and zest to evangelize. He revived the slowly dying catechism by himself teaching such classes. Pope Leo XIII recognized his good work and on June 19 1891, he appointed him as the Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice where Tombolo, Salzano, and Mantua came back to his jurisdiction.
Pope Leo XIII died on July 20 1903, and the papal conclave convened to elect his successor. During the first ballot in the new pope’s election, where the favourite was Cardinal Mariano Rampolla, the late pope’s secretary of state, Pius X got 5 votes, Gotti got 17 votes and Rampolla got 24 votes. During the second ballot, Pius X gained five votes. On the third and fourth ballot, he gained even more votes. During the fifth vote the tide had turned in favour of Pius X and he got 50 votes against Rampolla with 10 votes and Gotti with two votes. Therefore, on August 4 1903, Saint Pius X was finally declared the winner.
There was however some veto issues that rocked the papal conclave. Cardinal Jan Puzyna de Kosielsko from Kraków Poland in the name of Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary, decided to veto the nomination of Cardinal Mariano Rampolla as a candidate for the papacy. This did not go down well with Pope Saint Pius X who declared that he shall rescind those powers from the cardinals at a later date. Cardinal Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto took the name Pius X.
Pope Pius X stated that his motto was “to restore all things in Christ.” He implored upon his bishops, through an encyclical “Exhortation to the Catholic Clergy”, to reorganize the seminaries and train the priests in the best way possible because it was a trained and disciplined clergy that could run the program of return to Christ.
His simple way of life manifested from the word go right after his election. He cut down many papal ceremonies and abolished the custom of the pope dining alone. He invited friends to dine with him. He always turned down the overtures to make his sisters pontifical nobles and would reply, “I have made them sisters of the Pope; what more can I do for them?”
He was very friendly with children and would carry sweets in his pockets to give to children in the streets. He would gather children around him and teach them. He ultimately declared that every parish should have the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (catechism classes) and children’s instructions should play a major part.
Pope Pius X also issued decrees from 1905 through 1910, which relaxed the fast for the sick, encouraged the frequent reception of the Holy Eucharist by all Catholics, and also allowed the reception of First Holy Communion at an earlier age than had formerly been required. He declared that “Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.”
Pope Pius X vigorously condemned the ‘Modernists’, whom he termed as dangers to the Catholic faith. He said that these Modernists pretended to “modernize” the Catholic Church and make it remain in tandem with the changing times but in reality, they were destroying the foundation of faith.
Saint Pius X, Pope Death
Saint Pius X, Pope suffered a heart attack in 1913 and lived sickly until August 15 1914, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, when his situation completely worsened due to the events of World War I. On August 20 1914, he died and was buried in a simple tomb in the crypt below St. Peter’s Basilica, near the tombs of both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II.
Pope Pius X was declared venerable by Pope Pius XII on February 12 1943 when he was declared to have displayed heroic virtues. When his body was exhumed for canonical examination, on May 19 1944, it was found incorrupt despite being 30 years old with no embalmment.
Thereafter two miracles were attributed to his intercessions that led to his beatification. One involved Marie-Françoise Deperras, a nun who was cured of bone cancer when a relic of Pius X was placed on her chest on December 7 1928 during a novena. The other miracle involved Benedetta De Maria, a nun who was cured of cancer after touching a relic statue of Pius X during a novena in 1938.
Pope Pius X was beatified by Pope Pius XII on June 3 1951 at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City, and referred to him as “Pope of the Eucharist”.
Two more miracles were attributed to the intercessions of Saint Pius X and enabled him to be canonized. The first one involved Francesco Belsami, an attorney from Naples who was cured of his pulmonary abscess ailment after placing Pope Pius X’s picture on his chest. The other involved Sr. Maria Ludovica Scorcia, a nun who was cured of a serious neurotropic virus after seeking Saint Pius X’s help in several novenas.
Saint Pius X was canonized by Pope Pius XII on May 29 1954 at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.
Saint Pius X, Pope is the Patron Saint of
- St. Pius X Seminary, Dubuque, Iowa
- Society of Saint Pius X
- Santa Luċija, Malta
- Patriarchate of Venice
- First Communicants
- Emigrants from Treviso
- Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri
- Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana
- Diocese of Des Moines, Iowa
- Archdiocese of Zamboanga, Philippines
- Archdiocese of Kottayam, India
- Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia
Saint Pius X, Pope Feast Day
Initially, in 1955, Saint Pius X feast day was assigned to September 3 as a double but in 1969 it was made an obligatory memorial and to be celebrated on August 21 every year in the Catholic Church
Saint Pius X, Pope Quote
Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven. There are others: innocence, but that is for little children; penance, but we are afraid of it The surest, easiest, shortest way is the Eucharist.
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