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Daily Readings and Saint of The Day

Pope St. Pius X

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 08:00

Pope Pius X, born Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, was the first Pope elected in the 20th century. He came to the papal office in 1903 and died 11 years later in 1914, just as World War I was beginning.He was born in 1835 at Riese, near Venice, and was one of eight children. His family was poor. He felt a calling to be a priest at a young age and was ordained in 1858. After 26 years, he was named bishop of Mantua, Italy, and in 1893, he became patriarch of Venice. As Pope, he issued decrees making the age of First Holy Communion earlier (at the age of 7) and advocated frequent and even daily reception of the Eucharist. He promoted the reading of the Bible among laypeople, reformed the liturgy, promoted clear and simple homilies, and brought back Gregorian chant. He revised the Breviary, reorganized the curia, and initiated the codification of canon law. He died in 1914 of natural causes reportedly aggravated by worries over the beginning of World War I.Pope Pius X was canonized by Pope Pius XII in 1954.
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Aug. 21 Memorial of St. Pius X, pope, Sunday

Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - 07:00

Joseph Sarto was born in humble circumstances at Riese, a small village in Venetia, on June 2, 1835. He was successively curate, parish priest, bishop of Mantua, Patriarch of Venice -- offices to which his keen intelligence, hard work and great piety caused him to be quickly promoted. He was elected Pope on August 4, 1903, and took the name of Pius X. As chief pastor of the Church he displayed untiring self-sacrifice and great energy; he was an intrepid defender of the purity of Christian doctrine. He realized to the full the value of the liturgy as the prayer of the Church and the solid basis that it furnishes for the devotion of Christian people; he worked for the restoration of the worship of the Church, especially plainchant, so that Christian people, as he put it, might find beauty in their public prayer. He spared no effort to propagate the practice, so great an aid to holiness, of early, frequent and daily communion. He died August 20, 1914 and was canonized on May 29, 1954.
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St. Bernard de Clairvaux

Tuesday, August 20, 2019 - 08:00

On August 20 the Church celebrates the feast day of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a Doctor of the Church thanks to his writings and sermons which greatly influenced Europe during the 12th century, and his numerous efforts which helped to avoid a schism in the Church in 1130.Born in 1090, Bernard spent his early years near Dijon, France before leaving to joining the Cistercians at the age of 22. He was well educated and so passionate about his faith that he convinced his brothers, his uncle, and many of his friends to join him at the abbey.Bernard first entered the abbey at Citeaux, but only three years later was sent with 12 other monks to establish another monastery in the Diocese of Champagne. The monastery came to be known Clairvaux (Valley of Light). He led the other monks there as the abbot for the rest of his life.St. Bernard knew how to harmonize the contemplative life with important missionary work, as the Pope noted in 2006. However, the saint’s strict observance of silence and contemplation did not impede him from living a very intense apostolic life. His humility and his commitment to tame his impetuous temperament were exemplary, he said.The Pope also highlighted the saint’s focus on the truth that God, who is love, created mankind out of love and that man’s salvation consists of adhering firmly to Divine love, revealed through the crucified and risen Christ. “The richness of St. Bernard’s preaching and his theology were not in pursuing new paths,� the Pope said, “but in succeeding to propose the truth of the faith in a clear and incisive way so as to fascinate the listener and lead the person to prayer.�St. Bernard is also well-known for his Marian devotion, especially in using and promoting the "Memorare" prayer.  He became widely known throughout Europe and was consulted by Popes and political leaders. He died in 1153 and was canonized less than three decades later in 1174.In August 2008, Pope Benedict spoke of the saint during his weekly general audience.  He recalled that Pope Pius VIII labeled the “Honey-Sweet Doctor� for his eloquence and that he traveled throughout Europe defending the Christian faith.  Benedict XVI added, “He was also remembered as a Doctor of Mariology, not because he wrote extensively on Our Lady, but because he understood her essential role in the Church, presenting her as the perfect model of the monastic life and of every other form of the Christian life.�
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