St. Pius X began as a farm boy of a poor family and he later was canonized and remembered as a Eucharistic saint. He is a true example, similar to Our Blessed Mother, of how small, poor and humble beginnings can lead to radical holiness.
Even though St. Pius X came from such lowly beginnings, this did not deter his great leadership as pope.
Honestly, he was quite embarrassed by the papal court and it was a huge sacrifice for him to be treated with such high esteem, dressed in such clothes and with all the pomp that accompanies the papacy. There is a story that he even once cried to a friend about how great a struggle this was. He tried not to be distracted by this, but to allow his background to form the way he saw his people and minister to them.
Although there is a long list of things he fought for, established and preached, there are a few things I would like to point out.
- St. Pius X was our pope who encouraged and allowed frequent reception of Holy Communion.
- He laid down seven conditions under which a Catholic might vote for political candidates, which were summarized in the so-called Gentilioni Pact of 1913. Check those out because they are helpful for our time as well.
- As a reformer of liturgy, he preached solid orthodox theology and worked to help the people see the beauty in the liturgy and Church doctrine.
- Lastly, I want to mention that he directed the production of the 1918 Code of Canon Law, which was the first official codification of Latin canon law (this was a big deal!).
After all these things that I mentioned, I must say that what I love most about this saint is his love and sensitivity for children.
He wasn’t particularly happy with the way children were catechized and I’ve read so many stories about how he would carry candy in his pockets so they would gather around him and then he would sit and preach to them. He loved children. He taught:
“Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven.”
He believed this so much so he moved the age of First Holy Communion to seven years old because he taught that it was so important for children to receive Jesus as soon as possible. Beautiful!
St. Pius X died in 1914 and was canonized in 1954. When he was canonized, although he had a huge list of fancy achievements, he was proclaimed “Pope of the Blessed Sacrament” because of the way his catechesis focused around this Holy Sacrament, his promotion of frequent reception, and moving up the age for First Communion. What better way to be pope!
I really want to take this opportunity to thank this saint.
I attended St. Pius X Catholic High School and then I went on to teach at a different St. Pius X Catholic School after I moved to Nashville, Tennessee. As the patron of two school communities I was a part of, I have certainly had my fair share of learning about this man. But, I have to say that my daily reception of Holy Communion in high school certainly kept me in the state of grace that many high schoolers probably struggle with and grasp for.
That grace penetrated my soul, and although I was not perfect, I do believe the grace of the sacrament allowed me to sustain my fidelity to the Church in my youth.
I felt called to go around speaking to other teens about chastity and I also discovered not just with my head, but my heart, the truths the Church teaches and why. St. Pius X, you are my patron in learning and in the beautiful opportunity to receive you any day of the week, something in recent days, I have learned to not take for granted.