“I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor.”
Saint Pius X was born Guiseppe Melchiorre Sarto in Riese, Italy in 1835. The second of 10 children, Guiseppe lived a humble childhood. He entered the seminary at age 15. In 1858, he was ordained and worked as a parish priest for 17 years.
Father Sarto believed his call was to encourage those who were poor to lead Christian lives. Incorporating corporal and spiritual works of mercy, he aided his poor parishioners with his own clothing and food and provided spiritual instruction through the night school he founded. He taught both the young and old the fundamentals of the Christian Doctrine.
His work as a parish priest was rewarded when he was given the appointment as Canon of the Cathedral at Treviso and Chancellor of the diocese. Additionally, he became Spiritual Director of the seminary. While he enjoyed forming the young priests, he missed the interaction with parishioners. He often journeyed from the seminary into the city to teach catechism to the children. He organized a Sunday class for children who attended public school, where religion was banned.
His continued efforts to bring spirituality wherever it was needed gained him the title of bishop and eventually to Cardinal; he was the Patriarch of Venice. Following the death of Pope Leo XIII, Cardinal Sarto was elected to replace him. On August 9, 1903 he accepted and took the name Pius X. St. Pius X initiated changes in Church music and worship, began a biblical institute, and directed that children as young as age seven should be allowed to receive Eucharist. He lived his motto every day until his death in 1914: “Restore all things in Christ.”
· Patron Saint of First Communicants
· Canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954
Feast Day: August 21