Our saint of the week for this week is:
Pope St. Pius X
Feast Day: August 21
Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto was born in Venice on June 2,1835, and was the second of ten children born to Giovanni and Margarita Sarto. After he was ordained a priest in 1858, Fr. Sarto became chaplain at Tombolo fro the next nine years. He looked to perfect his knowledge of theology by diligently studying St. Thomas and Canon Law. In 1867 he was named arch-priest of Salzano, a large town of the diocese of Treviso. In 1875, he was made a canon of the cathedral of Treviso. On Nov. 20, 1884, he was consecrated Bishop of Mantua, which was then a very troublesome see. His chief care in his new position was the formation of the clergy at the seminary; he himself taught dogmatic theology there for several years and taught moral theology for another year.
In June of 1893, Pope Leo XIII created him a cardinal, and three days later, he was recognized Patriarch of Venice. When Leo XIII died in 1903, the cardinals entered into conclave, and, after several ballots, Giuseppe Sarto was elected on August 4, by 55 out of a possible 60 votes. His coronation took place on the following Sunday, August 9.
He is most famous for lowering the age of receiving First Communion to the “age of reason,” which is seven years old. Referred to as the “Pope of the Eucharist”, Pope Pius X advocated frequent Communion for adults, sacramental preparation for children, and instruction in catechism for everyone. When World War I broke out, St. Pius X suffered greatly. He knew so many people would be killed. He said: “I would gladly give my life to save my poor children from this horrible suffering.” Pope Pius X died on August 20, 1914. He was beautified on June 3,1951 and canonized on May 29, 1954.
Book on his life for 2nd-6th graders: St. Pius X : The Farm Boy Who Became Pope