1 Thessalonians 2:2-8; Psalm 88(89):2-5,21-22,25,27; John 21:15-17
The reading from todays letter to the Thessalonians contains a template as it were for those who are called to any pastoral work in the church. Todays saint is one of those outstanding examples of how to live a life as pastor in the church: Pope Pius Xth is very much an image that we see perhaps repeated in Pope Francis today.
Pius Xth was born in the village of Riese, near Venice, one of ten children of a very poor family. He was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 23. He was successively bishop of Mantua and of Venice, and was elected Pope, against his wishes, in 1903. In his time as Pope, he sought to “restore all things in Christ.” He insisted on the separation of Church and State, and banned the formation of political associations that claimed exclusive religious sanction for their political programme, whether of the Left or of the Right. He revised the code of Canon Law, founded an institute for scriptural studies, and initiated the revision of the Latin translation of the Bible (the Vulgate) and the reform of the liturgy.
He lived in great poverty even when he was Pope, and preached sermons every Sunday in the courtyards of the Vatican, to any who would listen. In his simplicity and goodness of heart, he performed miracles even when he was alive, and the clamour for his canonization started immediately after his death, on 20th August 1914, broken-hearted at the outbreak of the First World War.