St. Pius X
This great pope's name was Joseph Sarto. He was born in 1835, the son of a mailman in Riese, Italy. Joseph was given the affectionate nickname of "Beppi." When Joseph felt that God wanted him to be a priest, he had to make many sacrifices for his education. But he didn't mind. He even walked miles to school barefoot to save his one good pair of shoes. After he was ordained a priest, Father Sarto labored for the people in poor parishes for seventeen years. Everybody loved him. He used to give away everything he had to help them. His sisters had to hide his shirts or he would have had nothing to wear. Even when Father Joseph became a bishop, and a cardinal, he still gave away what he owned to the poor. He kept nothing for himself.
When Pope Leo XIII died in 1903, Cardinal Sarto was chosen pope. He took the name of Pius X. He became known as the pope who loved the Holy Eucharist. Pope Pius X encouraged everyone to receive Jesus as often as they could. He also made a law permitting young children to receive Holy Communion too. Before that time, boys and girls had to wait many years before they could receive the Lord. He is also the pope of religious instruction. He believed in and loved our Catholic faith. He wanted every Catholic to share in the beauty of the truths of our faith. He really cared about every single person and their spiritual and material needs. He encouraged priests and religion teachers to help everyone learn about their faith.
When the terrible World War I broke out, St. Pius X suffered greatly. He knew so many people would be killed. He had said: "I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this horrible suffering." Toward the end of his life, he also said: "I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor." He did so much to help the poor that people wondered where all the money came from. He never kept anything for himself, right to the end of his life. Pope Pius X died on August 20, 1914.
The last pope before him to be declared a saint was Pope St. Pius V. Pope Clement X had canonized him in 1672. We celebrate the feast of St. Pius V on April 30. Joseph Sarto, Pope St. Pius X, was proclaimed a saint by Pope Pius XII in 1954.
On this feast day, let us pray for our pope and all Church leaders.