Feast day: 21 August
Patronage: First Communicants
Pope Pius X held the pontifical office from August 4, 1903 – August 20, 1914 and is perhaps best remembered for his encouragement of the frequent reception of Holy Communion, especially by children.
Aware of his humble beginnings, Pope Pius said, “I was born poor, I lived poor, I will die poor.” And so was embarrassed by some of the pomp of the papal court.
Interested in politics, Pope Pius encouraged Italian Catholics to become more politically involved, denounced the ill treatment of indigenous peoples, and sheltered refugees from the Messina earthquake at his own expense.
His decision to adapt and systematize Canon Law led to the publication of the new code in 1917. His reorganization of the Papal Curia modernized the church’s central administration.
He died a few weeks after World War One began, and was beatified in 1951 and canonised on 29 May 1954.