Double (1955 Calendar): September 3
Pope St. Pius X was born at Riese, a small village in Venetia, Italy, on June 2, 1835. His name, prior to his election as pope, was Joseph Sarto. He lived in a poor family - one of eight children. He was baptized on June 3, 1835, and confirmed on September 1, 1848. He was ordained a priest at the age of 33 and worked for seventeen years as a parish priest before becoming Bishop of Mantua. In 1892, Joseph Sarto advanced to the metropolitan see of Venice with the honorary title of patriarch. On August 4, 1903, he was elected Pope of the Holy Catholic Church. Personally, he is one of my favorite popes in history.
Pope St. Pius X announced in his first encyclical that his papacy would seek to "to renew all things in Christ." He is primarily remembered for allowing children to receive First Holy Communion at a much younger age - the age of 7 instead of 12 or 14. He said, "Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven." Consequently, he encouraged frequent reception of Holy Communion. He is also remembered for bringing Gregorian Chant back, encouraging daily Bible reading and establishing various Biblical institutes, reorganizing the Roman Curia, taking a stand against Modernism, which he called the "synthesis of all heresies." His Holiness issued the Oath Against Modernism from his Motu Proprio Sacrorum Antistitum on 1 September 1910. He also worked on the codification of Canon Law.
In his will, Pope St. Pius X said, "I was born poor, I have lived poor, I wish to die poor." He was canonized on May 29, 1954, by Pope Pius XII - the first Pope canonized since St. Pius V in 1672. For a thorough description of the Funeral Rite of the Pontiffs including photos of the Funeral of His Holiness Pope St. Pius X, please see my post: The Traditional Funeral Rites of the Supreme Pontiffs.
Patron of: Archdiocese of Atlanta, Georgia; diocese of Des Moines, Iowa: first communicants; diocese of Great Falls-Billings, Montana; pilgrims; diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
O God, Who to safeguard Catholic faith and to restore all things in Christ, didst fill the Supreme Pontiff, Saint Pius, with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fortitude: grant in Thy mercy: that by striving to fulfill his ordinances and to follow his example, we may reap eternal rewards. Through the same our Lord.
Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Photos from his Canonization: