' St Pius X - My Favourite Saint

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St Pius X - My Favourite Saint
By Anil D'Souza, Halealve/Dubai

August 22, 2012

For the past many months, I have been doing a bit of reading on popes, as I am totally fascinated with the Vatican and the way it conducts itself. As I was reading through the book which I found in a convent in Cardiff, the following lines made me ponder over them again and again “The pontificate of Pope Saint Pius X (1903 – 1914) was one of the most controversial in modern times. No intellectual himself, immediately upon his election he was faced with the monumental problem of reconciling the received truths of the faith with the demands of contemporary scholarship”. There was a photo of a stern looking Pope Pius X next to these lines. For a moment I did not know what to do. I took a minute and began thinking about my association with this saint. Well how can my favourite saint be a controversial figure?

Pope Pius X was one of the first saints to whom I was introduced, as he is the patron saint of our parish. In fact, the whole vicinity around our parish is called PIUSNAGAR. Located about 4 kms from the town of Kundapur, Piusnagar is a coastal village. On every Tuesday, my mom used to take me and my elder sister to the novena of the saint and used to tell us that whatever we pray for would be granted by this powerful saint. We were in school then and all we asked is good grades and our faith in this saint increased when we actually got good grades. Moreover on the day of his feast August 21, we were allowed to take half day off from school. This was just another reason why we consider St Pius X as our favourite saint.

In Konkani, St Pius is called as “Pius Dhavo” (meaning St Pius the Tenth) and I used to think it as “Pius Dhovo” (Pius the white). This perception was built within me, from childhood, as he looked fair and regally handsome in papal robes in the statue of our church. Then I slowly began to realize it is Dhavo and not Dhovo. All these years I have prayed and said his novena and he had come across as a simple and humble person, who rose up to the highest ranks in the church. How could he be controversial? I had to do some research on it. Immediately I remembered a brother from our parish who had visited the birthplace of our saint. I was sure that he would have knowledge and some literary work on the saint. Fortunately he had, and unfortunately it was all in Latin. I have not been able to pick up any of the books, as I was caught up with my own worldly mess. Someday soon J

There is no much written on St Pius X on the internet, but I would like to briefly narrate his life. Giuseppe Melchiore Sarto was born on June 2nd, 1835 in the northern Italian village of Riese. He was ordained as a priest in 1858, after he completed his theological studies from the seminary at Padua. He worked as an assistant priest and then as a priest in the parish of Salzano. In 1875 the Bishop of Treviso asked him to render his services as spiritual director in the seminary and simultaneously as a chancellor of the diocese. In 1884 he was appointed as Bishop of Mantua and then in 1893, he was appointed as a cardinal. Barely three days later, he was made Patriarch of Venice. I fairly knew about all this, as I had read these in our novena book. So far there was no controversy whatsoever.

Pope Leo XIII, who had opened the Vatican archives for historians to research died on July 20th, 1903. The election which followed was a dramatic one, which saw my favourite saint rise from nowhere to become the next pope. I was wondering whether there was a controversy in the elections. There was indeed a little controversy. Austria- a major catholic power vetoed against the favourite candidate Cardinal Mariano Rampolla. The first ballot clearly was won by Cardinal Rampolla and Cardinal Sarto got only 5 votes. The second ballot too favored Rampolla. During the third ballot, a Polish Cardinal vetoed against Rampolla’s nomination in the name of the Austria- Hungarian Emperor. Cardinal Sarto was gaining votes now and the fourth ballot saw Rampolla at 30 and Sarto at 24. After the veto, however the fifth ballot clearly gave Sarto a majority with 50 votes. All this while Cardinal Sarto declined his nomination considering himself unworthy, but he was asked to reconsider his decision and finally he accepted papacy and the very first thing he did was to abolish this privilege of veto by any monarch. This was a controversy indeed, but not associated with Cardinal Sarto directly. It was something which was not in Sarto’s control.

So where does the controversy lie? I remember the line “to restore all things in Christ” many times in our church. I wasn’t aware of the background and no one explained it to us. Pope Pius X‘s predecessor, Pope Leo had opened the Vatican archives for historians for research, a move according to me was to show that there are no hidden bones anywhere in the church. Many modernist s questioned Christianity in due course.

As soon as Cardinal Sarto became Pope Pius X, he embarked on a mission of restoring all things back to Christ and was extremely severe on them. Some intellects had doubts about churches proclamation that Moses had written the first 5 books of the bible, or Matthew’s gospel was the first of the four to be written etc. Pope Pius X had ordered all Catholics sternly to accept what was told in the bible. He was very harsh against these modernists. Thus he might have mishandled the delicate matter of balancing the modern intellects and faith. This was the controversy which I was referring to in the first paragraph. There were also some political issues in France which added to these controversies. He was more of a spiritual pope, than a political pope. Career diplomats in the Vatican were replaced by clergymen: another reason why his papacy is termed as “controversial”.

Pope Pius X died on August 20th heartbroken by the outbreak of the World War 1. He was a very devout person and encouraged the Eucharistic devotion. He also lowered the age to receive communion and also restored the Gregorian chant into the liturgy. He was canonized 40 years later and has ever since been a favourite saint of many people. He is one of the few incorruptible saints and his body is still in Vatican for the faithful to see.

Well, I have a few things to say as a young catholic from Udupi diocese. I hope many priests and clergymen read this article and agree with me, when I say that as Catholics, we are less aware about our religion. For instance, I was asked by a taxi driver the other day to state the best part about Christianity. I wasn’t able to say anything. I was completely out of words. Well maybe I am the one to be blamed for this unawareness. But from where do get this knowledge? Catechism classes are of great help, but are they effective? We were taught some prayers, some biblical stories in lower classes and then some completely difficult to grasp kind of philosophies in higher classes. To be frank, I was happy to finish catechism after 11thand my convenient reason for not attending 12th catechism classes was tuitions. Now ,I am not even sure whether there were classes for 12th grade.

I am of the opinion that every parish should have a small library with divine, historical and theological books. As a new diocese, I feel it is the right time to inculcate reading habits into young children. Any doubts encountered could be easily cleared by the parish priest. It would a great educational experience for youngsters to read about their favourite saints, their life and maybe give them an opportunity to serve the lord better. Now this is again a delicate matter for the diocese authorities to decide whether to spend too much money on library buildings or on books.


Anil D'Souza - Archives:


Comments on this article
Tony, USSaturday, September 01, 2012
It is gratifying that a Mangalorean website honors the Catholic tradition and seeks to educate people on the life of a great Pope.
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Mark, MangaloreThursday, August 30, 2012
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Tina, MangaloreThursday, August 30, 2012
Anil, You must visit St. Paul's bookshop. You will find everything.
Also making a retreat is very important, you eyes will open to find and read spiritual books and that way you will gain more knowledge. Nowadays everything is available on internet. This channel will give you more information. To know our Catholic faith, we should have interest. The moment you are interested, you will look for everything. God Bless
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lavina, ksaSunday, August 26, 2012
good message
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Nathaline D'Souza, Halealve/PiusnagarThursday, August 23, 2012
Hi Anil, Wonderful write-up! Keep up the good work. Looking forward to reading more of such articles. All the Best. Love, Villa Uncle & Nathaline Aunt
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Thomas DMello, Piusnagar, KundapuraThursday, August 23, 2012

This is the best tributes to St. Pius X on his feast day.
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Tony Crasta, Mangalore/SydneyThursday, August 23, 2012
Mr. Mark Noronha : Past is past, and it is history. We are living in the present world, and I was only talking about the present and the immediate past generation, i.e. 20th and 21st Century, and I still stand by my comments. These are, of course, my general observations and I am entitled to offer my opinion. Thanks for your advice though - religion is such a complex topic, I do not want to debate or get into discussion about it.
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Nancy, MangaloreThursday, August 23, 2012
Very nice article. Very well said about having a library in each parish. It is indeed a great help to gain knowledge. God bless you.
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Mark Noronha, MangaloreThursday, August 23, 2012
Mr. Tony Crasta,
While you claim the Christian education, your statements clearly show your ignorance in the background of the Christian religion.
I suggest you read "Christians of south Canara " by DR. KRANTHI FARIAS and also browse through the Internet on "THE INQUSITION" until then please refrain from such statements.
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Mark Noronha, MangaloreThursday, August 23, 2012
Anil/ Neil
It nice to know someone IS interested in what is happening in the Papacy where the golden words are SILENCE IS GOLDEN.
The secret archives have been opened to the scholars and many more secrets be revealed.
How much we know of the bible, how much is the original,how much is added,d, edited is slowly surfacing..
History of the popes is history.
Sins of the priests are now opening to haunt them.
Suggested reading is BABYLON MYSTRY RELIGION (truthnfrom the catholic encyclopedia )AND JERROMES BIBLICAL COMMENTRY(endorsed for reading by 2 popes )Imprimauter 1988 .
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Tony Crasta, Mangalore/SydneyThursday, August 23, 2012
Christianity is about love, care and respect for each other - your family, your colleagues and neighbours.

It is about following and abiding strictly the rules and regulations of the country and/or place one is living in, which Christians do.

Christianity is a non-violent religion. Christians are pious and peace loving people. They cultivate live and let live attitude. They mind their own business.

Christians believe in honest, clean and good living. The enjoy their life fully - their traditions and festivals - according to their means - without any hindrance and nuisance to others in the society.

Christians are decent, well educated and good and lawful citizens of the country and they carry a lot of good moral values and culture which they inherited from their ancestors and their allegiance to the Churches and other allied Christian Educational Institutions and mentors.

Christian Missionaries/Churches, Schools and allied Institutions - they are the stalwarts and pioneers in the filed of education from whom India, especially Mangalore, has benefited a lot. I can go on and on...

Anil, it`s a shame that you could not think of saying something on these lines.

(Of course, there are always some bad elements and unpleasant happenings in every society and culture, and Christianity is no exception).
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Fr. Boniface Ocd, Fajir,MangaloreThursday, August 23, 2012
Congratulations dear Anil.Your article Pius X is inspirating especially for those who are devoted to Pius Dhavo.May you be inspired to write many more articles in Daijiworld. Hats off to Anil.
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neil rodrigues, mangaloreThursday, August 23, 2012
that is what we mangalorean catholics are good at doing! covering up and defending what is not wrong. I am not taking Anils trip here but just speaking of how corrupt the church and the Papacy is and thats not the past but even today, its no secret abt recent scandals involving the Popes cook and the vatican bank. its good to be defensive and not ignorant. Pope Pius X while led a pius life also stopped modernization of the catholic church to remain regimental abt what he thought was the way to go. clearly the effect of his deeds are visible in what we see in the 21century through molestation of boys by priests etc.

When will we change, when will the church change. My comment on the God being on the Altar was symbolic on the presence/importance at a church or a home (similar to what u say God lives in your heart, symbolic to say God is an important part of my life like my heart) and not literal. if God doesnt live on the altars(which i dont believe he does) we should take off all statues and altars from our churches no? dont want to argue or cause noise here...points just to ponder over
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Calvin, surathkal/USAThursday, August 23, 2012
Very sad to hear that you could not say what was the best thing about Christianity. The sacrifice of our LORD JESUS CHRIST whose precious blood was shed so that our sins could be forgiven and we could live forever with our LORD.
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Fr.Vincent D'Souza, Bela- KasargodWednesday, August 22, 2012
Dear Anil,Glad to read the Article. I too have great love for St.Pius X . He was a man of deep spirituality , He had a kind Loving Heart like Christ.When I was the Parish Priest of Piusnagar from 1987-1994, On every Tuesday Your Mom bringing you and your sister for the Mass and the Noveena. Together With my friend Fr. Corneleo prepared a Noveena book and composed a new Hymn for this Saint:- " Santh Pius Baktha Patron Amcha. Argha Pateythao Haryek Disa......" . This became a very popular Hymn even today it is sung on every tuesday.
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anil thomas dsilva, mangalore-afganistanWednesday, August 22, 2012
good one Anil,, want to c many more gud one
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Fr. Mark Mathias, SVD, jalamel, Shirva, now IndoreWednesday, August 22, 2012
Thank you Anil for the wonderful article. There was some information even I as a priest did not know!! Thank you and please keep researching and enlightening us. I appreciate your efforts and your suggestions in the last para that every parish should have a library where our youngsters can read, if they wish, on matters of our faith. Thank you once again.
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Peter , Bolkunje/MangaloreWednesday, August 22, 2012
Thank you Mr. Noronha. I was going to reply Neil. You have done an excellent job. Anil carry on your good work.
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A.NORONHA, MangaloreWednesday, August 22, 2012
Mr. Neil Rodriques
Your observation that there was no God on the alter was 100-/- right.
God dwels in the hearts of his Followers not on alters ,monuments or places of worship.
Thrones,silver,gold,treasures are the love of man and cannot ever be associated with God.
Nice to have known someone so open as you.
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neil rodrigues, mangaloreWednesday, August 22, 2012
While this is a nice article, where is God in this article. Its all abt the Pope PIUS X. I have visited the Vatican and the vain wealth made me wonder what would have happened if it was spent on the welfare of the people of the world rather than on thrones beautiful alters etc. If you wanted to know, at St. Peters, there is No God on the Altar but the Throne of the Pope. Where is God in Catholism!
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Jessie D Souza, Mangalore/SharjahWednesday, August 22, 2012
Wow, that is a great article. You inspired me to go into the depths of favorite saints' biographies and relate to modern times. Liked your light hearted humor and innocent ignorance that led to the in-depth insight into your favorite saints.
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clara helen, Mangalore, OmanWednesday, August 22, 2012
Thank u for d wonderful writing! We can't blame somebody for our unawareness, bcause we rarely take any interest in reading or knowing anything abt our religion specially catholics!
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Shalini SRA, VamanjoorWednesday, August 22, 2012
Anil, you have written well. Your suggestion to the new Udupi Diocese is good, that is to have a common library for people who are interested in reading, specially, who cannot afford to buy books.
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L Fernandes, MangaloreWednesday, August 22, 2012
Pope Pius X is dear not only for you, but also for me.
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IVAN DSOUZA, Manglaore/MctWednesday, August 22, 2012
Christ is light, if we walk in the path of virtue we can be a mirror of that light by our good deeds ( A small one good deed is like a ladder to heaven than sweet words). All of all from our Blessed Mother Mary to Apostal's to Saints and Many Holy Saints walked in the path of holy life and today many holy people carry out this holy mission by sacrificing thier life to reflect this light in the Holy Churchs by the Power of the HOly Spirit. Everyone is called for Holiness at the time of Anoiting of Holy Sacrament, If parents holds this holy light in their hearts they can reflect in their child and they will learn the sacred values. We can't blame to anyone for our short comings failure of not able to give answer but if we are in love of God we may be able excel this light to others by our good deeds and action surely they will say that he or she is truely Christian (Christ is in with him or her= Christion). This I remember even today after 35 years, bcs my Catechism teacher thought me when I was at age of 9. So to touch another person sole, we need to walk in path of Holy ground (life). God Bless.
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Mark Noronha, MangaloreWednesday, August 22, 2012
You must buy and own the greatest ever book written in regard to the CATHOLIC FAITH - JEROMES BIBLICAL COMMENTRY written by more than 100 scholars from the church appointed by 2 POPES with impumateur !
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vsevolod nestor dcosta, kadri mangaloreWednesday, August 22, 2012
Dear Anil, A nice and beautiful article. I also did not know about saint Pius tenth and thought it was saith Pius the X like in Xfactor.read and learnt more about him when i started to come to Pius 10 church in Kundapur.
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Verina Pinto, Dubai/MangaloreWednesday, August 22, 2012
Good One Anil...Very true we need to be aware of our catholic roots. A library providing access to books,articles on our saints helps us to know them better than just knowing their names. Keep writing, awaiting for many more articles:):)
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