Pope St. Pius X's Gift to His Childhood Parish

Recently while on pilgrimage in the North of Italy I had the privilege to visit - for the second time in my life - the home town of Pope St. Pius X.  This small little village is called today Riese Pio X (formerly known as Riese).  It is located in the middle of nowhere in a rural farming community near to Padua and Venice.  The people have a very different life here, even today.  The town remains very small, sleepy and remote.  It is best reached by rental car.  The locals have a very different accent compared to the Roman dialect we are accustomed to hearing in Rome.  The saintly pontiff grew up in the this humble place, just down the street from the local parish, Chiesa di San Matteo (the church of St. Matthew). 

Photos by OC-Travel
In 1903 Pius X was elected Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church.  In 1906 he donated these beautiful new candlesticks to his childhood parish - the first church he knew - in Riese.  After all these years the holders look like new.  Clearly they are of the highest quality and have been well maintained for over one-hundred years.  Their value is immense -- they are irreplaceable, baroque in style, simple in design, not taking away in the least from the perfect picture of the main altar with its tabernacle.


Unfortunately they are today scattered throughout the church, placed in random areas. Their proper and safest place for these treasures of inestimable value is on the gradines of the high altar, protected in the holy of holies.  It goes without saying that this was the original intention of the donor.


I have a feeling these treasures were originally donated to the Pontiff and he found a good home for them.  Popes have always been showered with many such gifts.  For that reason in various convents, for example, in Rome and throughout Italy, many items of Pius X can be found, identifiable by his papal coat-of-arms.


In this church the future pontiff was baptized, received his First Holy Communion, Confirmation and served his first Mass.  It was his first school of liturgy.  Little has changed.  It is pure joy to pray inside this church and to kneel where he knelt and prayed the same prayers: "Introibo ad altare Dei."


The church was built in the 18th century by the architect A. Zorzi.  The interior paintings date from the 16th-17th centuries and are by various artists, artists such as J. Palma and "il Giovane."  I highly recommend pilgrims visit.  It is well worth a visit. The house where he was born and lived is also open for visitors and in the back yard there is a museum that you should not miss.  When you visit also be sure take a walk in the opposite direction to see the town cemetery (where his parents are entombed) and a bit further is the glorious shrine known as the Santuario delle Cendrole, where the young Giuseppe (Joseph) Sarto (Tailor) would go and pray and serve Mass nearly every day. 

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