Pope sits in pews for Mass at St Pius X tomb

Pope Francis sat in the pews for a Mass at the tomb of St Pius X in St Peter’s Basilica on August 21, the saint’s feast day.

The Pope had already celebrated Mass in his residence very early that morning and had gone to the tomb of his predecessor to pray for catechists.

When the celebrant of the Mass at St Pius X’s tomb, Msgr Lucio Bonora, arrived at the altar, he looked at the Pope, who nodded, as if to encourage him to continue.

About 70 people were sitting or kneeling in pews in front of the tomb when the Pope joined them.

Msgr Bonora went down to the Pope during the sign of peace.

For Communion, the Pope stood in line with others from the small congregation, L’Osservatore Romano reported.

After Mass, outside the basilica, Pope Francis told the monsignor that he went to St Pius’s tomb “to pray for all catechists, entrusting them to his protection as I did every year in Argentina”.

“I came to say a private prayer,” Francis said, “because I celebrated Mass early, but then I saw you coming to the altar to celebrate and I decided to stay . . . I told you I’m a devotee of St Pius X.”

As Archbishop of Buenos Aires, on the feast of St Pius X, Jorge Mario Bergoglio would meet catechists from the diocese.

Early in his pontificate, Pope Francis ordered that the preparation of the basilica’s nativity scene be moved away from the Chapel of St Pius X, as it blocked people from praying at the saint’s tomb.

St Pius X wrote a catechism in 1908 and is also remembered for his promotion of Communion for children.

In the first few months of his pontificate he began a deep reform of the Roman Curia and he wanted priests to be shepherds of souls, paying particular attention to the poor.

He presented the Eucharist not as a prize for those who are already perfect, but as a daily support for people to get closer to God.

He was also uncomfortable with many of the trappings of papal office.


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