Saint of the Day for 21 August: St Pius X
Church Renewer and Zealous Pastor of Souls
Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto
02 June 1835, Riese
20 August 1914, Rome
03 June 1951, Rome, Pope Pius XII
29 May 1954, Rome, Pope Pius XII
O Holy Pontiff Pius X, good and vigilant pastor, ascended to the glory of the saints, hear the prayer we lay at your feet. Obtain for us the true love of Jesus so that we may live only by Him! Impose upon us your great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary; and may we be delivered from every evil of soul and body! And make the Church and Christian society – as You so desired – sing the hymn of victory and peace. So be it.
Patron saint of
Venezia, Spinetoli, Borgo Veneto
Memory of St Pius X, Pope, who was first a parish priest and then Bishop of Mantua and Patriarch of Venice. Elected, finally, Pontiff of Rome, he proposed as his programme of government to recapitulate all things in Christ and realised it in simplicity of mind, poverty and fortitude, promoting among the faithful the Christian life with participation in the Eucharist, the dignity of the sacred liturgy and the integrity of doctrine.
The Saint and Mission
St Pius X, Pope from 1903 to 1914, profoundly embodied the essence of a mission aimed at the ‘restoration of all things in Christ’, the motto of his pontificate. In the tumultuous era in which he lived, he faced significant challenges, including the emergence of modernism, increasing secularisation and political tensions.
However, his papal mission was not simply reactive in nature. St Pius X introduced liturgical reforms, promoted a more active participation of the faithful in the Sacred Liturgy and lowered the age of First Communion, emphasising the importance of catechetical formation from an early age.
He was a man of deep humility and spirituality, who saw his mission as a service to the Church and God’s people. His dedication to the Gospel, combined with a profound pastoral vision, left an indelible mark on the history of the Church, inspiring generations of Catholics to live their faith authentically and to put Christ at the centre of all action.
The Saint and Mercy
St Pius X, known as the ‘Pope of the Eucharist’, embodied mercy in his pontificate through his many reforms, all aimed at bringing the Church closer to its faithful. His decision to lower the age for First Holy Communion, allowing children to receive the Body of Christ at a younger age, is a tangible sign of his profound understanding of God’s mercy and his desire for every Christian to participate fully in it.
Moreover, his openness and efforts to make Sacred Scripture and catechesis more accessible reflect his desire to ensure that the Word of God and its teachings reached every heart. This, together with his insistence on religious formation and active participation in the liturgy, shows a practical mercy, geared to nourish the faithful spiritually.
St Pius X’s mercy was not only theological, but also deeply personal. His humility and simplicity, his concern for the poor and marginalised, and his dedication to justice and truth show a heart immersed in divine mercy, eager to extend it to all those he met.
Giuseppe Sarto was born in Riese, near Treviso, on 2 June 1835, to Giovanni Battista Sarto and Margherita Sanson, poor but excellent spouses, loved by all for their spirit of charity. He was the eldest of ten children. He received his first religious teachings within the family, where virtue was traditional.
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