Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today, August 21, is the feast of our parish patron, Pope St. Pius X. Though the liturgical observation of this feast is superseded by the celebration of the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time, it is good for us to celebrate this great saint. It is always a special day when a parish’s patronal feast rolls around. As you will recall, the Catholic Church in the United States is in a period of Eucharistic revival (www.eucharisticrevival.org). Who better to instruct our parish in this time than our patron, the pope of the Eucharist, St. Pius X?
It was Pope St. Pius X who, in 1910, instructed in Quam Singulari that children having reached the age of reason (about 7), and sufficiently prepared, could be admitted to Holy Communion. If you received your First Holy Communion when you were in second grade or so, you have St. Pius X to thank! Prior to this, in 1905 St. Pius very earnestly encouraged the frequent reception of Communion and of the sacrament of Confession as an important preparation for Communion. Our patron was well aware that fruitful reception of the Eucharist is made more fruitful by our encounter with the mercy of Jesus available to us in Confession.
The motto of his papacy, Instaurare omnia in Christo (To restore all things in Christ), urged St. Pius to make the Eucharist a central pillar of his ministry. In doing this, he also urged reverence and excellence in liturgical celebrations. In particular, through his 1903 motu proprio, Tra le Sollecitudini, he called for a restoration of Gregorian chant in the liturgy (echoed later at the Second Vatican Council by the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium). He also recognized good catechetical instruction as foundational to any liturgical celebration and to fruitful reception of the sacraments. St. Pius issued a catechism and called for each parish to provide catechetical instruction for children so that they could be well-prepared to receive the graces present and waiting for them in the Eucharist.
In this time of Eucharistic revival, we are also being invited to prepare our hearts and minds for the fruitful celebration and reception of the sacraments. The graces Jesus wants us to receive are never lacking. Through our deeper knowledge of the faith, through our devout attention and reverence at Mass, through our daily prayer and devotion, we can prepare our hearts to truly receive the full riches of God’s grace. May our patron, St. Pius X, pray for us and be our guide throughout this time of renewal!