The Vatican

Pius X returns to Veneto 120 years after his election as Pope

From October 6 to 15, the mortal remains of St. Pius X will be on pilgrimage through the towns of Treviso and Riese in an event that has mobilized more than one million pilgrims.

Antonino Piccione-October 11, 2023-Reading time: 4 minutes
pio x

"Alive or dead I will return", the mortal remains of the Pontiff finally return home. An event awaited by the faithful in all the parishes of northern Italy and beyond: ten days of appointments and celebrations in the Treviso area. Before leaving for Rome, where he would ascend the pontifical throne, the then Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto had spoken a few words. "Alive or dead I will return".

Those were terrible years, those of the early twentieth century, the First World War was about to break out. The mortal remains of Pope Pius X returned to Venice many years later, in 1959.

Now the promise is being fulfilled again: from October 6 to 15 his "Peregrinatio" will be held between Treviso and Riese.

The urn will be transported from St. Peter's, 545 kilometers in a vehicle specially conditioned to prevent vibrations from damaging it, and after a day in the cathedral of Treviso will be received for more than a week in Cendrole, a village in the province of Riese that houses the Marian church in which Bepi Sarto developed his faith, before being transferred to Padua and Venice.

A religious event, certainly, but also a social and cultural one. In the recent history of the Church, in fact, only on one other occasion has the "homecoming" of a Pope been organized.

It happened in May 2018 in the Bergamo area, where the remains of John XXIII (who when he was a cardinal, under the name of Roncalli, had been among the great supporters of the return of the body of Pius X to Venice) generated an unprecedented mass movement.

Nearly half a million pilgrims have booked for the visit; figures are unknown as to how many have passed through the area without registering, only for tourist purposes.

Preparation of the Peregrinatio

"We have been working for years to organize the Peregrinatio", says Matteo Guidolin, president of the Giuseppe Sarto Foundation and mayor of Riese Pio X. "We have organized the logistics of our small municipality.

The village of Cendrole, where only a few dozen families live, will welcome thousands of pilgrims during the ten days of events and, as a support, we have organized a logistical reception center two kilometers away. It will be a wonderful challenge to face. All the information is available on the website www.papapiox.it".

In addition to having supported the restoration and redevelopment of the Casa Natale complex (including an innovative approach to the museum, soon to be presented with the possibility of visiting it with augmented reality), Riese has also redeveloped the Curiotto path, a path Sarto used to walk as a young man to go to pray.

In addition, the Cendrole to Spineda bike lane has been created, which will definitively link the city center with the Sentiero degli Ezzeliniand has designed new street furniture.

Pilgrims can also visit the award-winning artistic crib (in the parish nursery) and an exhibition on the sculptor Francesco Sartor (in Barchessa Zorzi).

The bishops have involved all the parishes of northern Italy in the organization of buses and transfers, the priests talked about it for weeks in the communities. In fact, Pius X studied at the seminary in Padua, was chaplain in Tombolo, archpriest in Salzano, in the Venice area, canon of the cathedral of Treviso, spiritual father of the seminary, bishop in Mantua and patriarch in Venice.

Treviso also took part in the pilgrimage project: the first stop on the journey was the cathedral church of the capital of the Marca Trevigiana (on the evening of October 6). Subsequently, the urn was welcomed first in the archpriestly church of his hometown, Riese Pio X, and then in the sanctuary of the Madonna delle CendroleThe urn will then be transferred to Padua and Venice. There will be dozens of events and pastoral initiatives, thanks to which the faithful will be able to venerate and learn more about the figure of the Saint from Treviso.

Brief biography of Pius X

Born in 1835 into a peasant family, he was the second of 10 siblings.

Thanks to the interest of some priests and the Patriarch of Venice, who knew of his talents, he was able to study at the College of Castelfranco, which he attended walking barefoot for 8 km so as not to wear out his shoes.

At the age of 23 he was ordained a priest, and in 1884 he was appointed bishop of Mantua.

Nine years later he was elected Cardinal Patriarch of Venice and in 1903 he was forced, despite his protestations of incapacity, to accept election to the papacy.

Endowed with great prudence, discretion, kindness and humility, although he had a centralist conception of the government of the Church, he set out to be "the servant of all".

He was a man of deep prayer and true love for the poor, as well as an exceptional internal organizer of the Church. Pius X did everything possible to give the clergy not only a spiritual formation, but also a theological, liturgical, canon law and social economy formation.

Under his pontificate, the liturgical reform of the calendar, the Breviary and the liturgy in general was carried out, favoring a more active participation of all the people in Sunday Mass (the center and summit of Christian life) and a more frequent Eucharistic communion also for children.

He met Lorenzo Perosi, admired his musical talent and entrusted to him the reform of music and liturgical sacred chant. He also promoted the renewal of catechesis by preparing a catechism that still bears his name and codified canon law. He died in Rome on August 20, 1914, saddened by the war that was already raging in Europe.

The authorAntonino Piccione

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