St. Pope Pius X
Our Parish Patron
“To defend the Catholic faith and make all things new in Christ” was the task that St. Pius X set for himself. His motto, “To renew all things in Christ,” was the guiding principle of his reign as Pope, and that is noted in the Opening Prayer of Mass.
For years he was a parish priest, then chancellor of his diocese. Appointed Bishop of Mantua in 1884, he endeared himself to his people by his gentleness and warmth, as he went about renewing his diocese. Ten years later he was named Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice, and in 1903 was chosen to be Pope.
It was a time that called for strength in leadership in the Church and this humble saint was equal to the challenge. The opening prayer of the Mass recognizes that he was filled with “heavenly wisdom and apostolic courage.” He met the needs of the Church and the needs of society. Primarily he turned to the spiritual needs of the Church and is remembered as the Pope who encouraged frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children, and he urged that they receive this wonderful sacrament as early as possible.
He initiated reform of liturgical books, a revision of the text of the psalms, and he encouraged an active participation of the laity in the celebration of Mass. It is known that he was convinced of the value of the vernacular in the liturgy, but thought the time was not yet right for its use. Much of what he envisioned and encouraged is a reality for us today.
In the internal affairs of the Church he gave impetus to the codification of Church law. He took a strong stand against interference in the internal affairs of the Church by governments, especially France. He was concerned also for the correct teaching of Catholic doctrine and the strong catechetical formation of the youth. He encouraged the serious and critical study of the Scriptures.
He was a gentle and sensitive shepherd after the model of Jesus the Good Shepherd. An historian wrote of him: He was “a man of God who knew the unhappiness of the world and the hardships of life, and in the greatness of his heart wanted to comfort everyone.”
We have been blessed with some great and competent Popes. They have been teachers, spiritual giants, inspiring guides, courageous and zealous preachers. Above all, they have been holy pastors. We are privileged to honor the first of the 20th century popes, the gentle, sensitive, pastoral Pius X.