|Statue of St. Pius X in St Raymond Cathedral|
A few days before the canonization of Pius X (May, 1954), Father Alberione reminisced: "When, against all human expectations, Pius X was elected Supreme Pontiff, a highly experienced priest full of wisdom and above all of great virtue commented: 'This election was a miracle: it certainly proceeded from the Holy Spirit; let us prepare ourselves to see in this pontificate a reawakening of prayerfulness and of the Christian spirit.' And so it was."
Alberione himself had been greatly influenced by this Pope, who was a country boy like himself. Pius was elected in 1903, a significant year for Alberione, then a seminarian (he later wrote that during this particular school year he received a special insight that his life's work would be focused on the spread of the Gospel). When the Pope reversed the ruling that forbade Italian Catholics from participating in elections (a leftover from the days of Garibaldi), Father Alberione was appointed by his bishop to visit the parishes in his region to explain how one could be a faithful Catholic and an active citizen of the young nation at the same time. The great Pope appeared, Alberione wrote, as a true image of the Divine Master in the midst of the flock (kind of reminds me of Pope Francis!). His tomb is under one of the side altars in St Peter's Basilica. Hopefully, I'll be able to pay him a little visit before I leave the Eternal City!