Saturday, May 5, 2018

May 5: St. Pius V, P., C., O.P., II Class

Today, in the 1962 Dominican Rite Calendar, we celebrate the feast of St. Pius V, Pope and Confessor, of the Order of Preachers.  The feast is II Class, so the semi-festive office is prayed according to the rubrics

St. Pius V is one of my favorite saints (I often wonder if that is a Dominican Breviary in his hand in the photo above!).  Anyone who has been unwillingly thrust into a position of leadership, can sympathize with this humble man who wanted nothing more than to be a humble Dominican friar, yet found himself enmeshed in world affairs.  He is also another example of a canonized Inquisitor, the presence of whose feast in the liturgical calendar helps to dispel some of the toxic myths that the enemies of the Church have spread to further their war against almighty God and his one true Church.

As surprising as it may seem, given the reputation this holy Pope and friary had, it took nearly a century and a half after his death before he was canonized!  In his "History of the Dominican Liturgy", Fr. William Bonniwell, O.P., relates the story of his canonization:

This Pontiff had died in 1672, and although all hailed him as a Saint, no one took effective steps to obtain officially for him that title.  Sixtus V contended himself with erecting for his friend a mausoleum in St. Mary Major's, to which, in 1588, the body of the Saint was transferred.  A century later, Rocaberti interested himself in the "cause", and was greatly aided by Louis XIV of France, who wrote to the Pope urging the canonization of 'this great successor of St. Peter'.  Their efforts resulted in the beatification of Pius by Clement X in 1671.
At last, nearly a century and a half after his death [1712] , the full honors of the altar were paid to him.  It was planned that, on the same day there should be canonized with Pius V, Andrew of Avellino, a Theatine, Felix of Cantalice, a Capuchin, and Catherine of Bologna, a Franciscan nun.  The expenses connected with such a ceremony were considerable; they may well exceed fifty thousand dollars.  In the present case, the total was divided among the three Orders, each one being taxed thirty thousand gold ecus.  As the Dominican treasury was empty, and Pius had been a Pope, [Master General] Cloche was hopeful that his share would be borne by the Dominican's successor on the Papal throne, especially as no Pipe had been canonized in four hundred years  But the master-general did not take into account the parsimonious character of Clement XI; either the Dominicans would raise the money or Pius V would not be canonized!  Cloche was almost in despair; he neither had so great a sum of money nor did he know where he could raise it.  He was actually trying to sell the house he lived in, when providentially there arrived from America 'a great sum of money'.  This, with a personal tax of the European friars, finally enabled the general to raise the necessary amount.  The canonization took palace on 22 May, 1712.   Pius had died on 1 May; but as that date was already occupied by the Feast of the Apostles Philip and James, his feast was assigned to 5 May.
From the Martyrology:
At Rome, St. Pius V, pope and confessor, of the Order of Preachers He zealously reformed the morals of the clergy and the laity, everywhere suppressed heresies, and by his prayers obtained from God a naval victory for the Christians at Lepanto. He fulfilled every duty of a good pastor and died May 1.
From the Office:

Ant to psalms (at 1st Vespers):  Happy household of Dominic, applaud as you light the lamps for Pius V.  Holy mother Church, applaud as you sit by the rivers of Babylon.  All you heavenly court, applaud, and for Pius redouble the joyous "Alleluia."

Responsory (at 1st Vespers):  . While the new Moses was praying to God with arms lifted on the hill, Amalek eh enemy of Israel was routed on the sea at Lepanto. * The victory achieved is revealed to Pius, Alleluia.  . When he stretches out the rod of the Rosary, the impious foes are engulfed. - The victory. - Glory. - Alleluia.

Ant. 3 (at Matins):  With the loving prayer of Pius to uphold me, I will not fear even thousands of people who are ranged on every side against me.

Ant. 1 (at Lauds):   Pius, according to your name, so be your praise; the flock sings the praises of its shepherd, and cannot praise enough, alleluia.

Ant. 3 (at Lauds):  By impartial justice Pius set right the scales; repressing the vices of the world, he upheld a true balance, alleluia.

Bened. ant.:  Pius, wonderful shepherd, be mindful of your sheep; plead before the supreme Judge for the lands of the faithful, alleluia.


O God, for the defeat of the church's foes and the restoration of divine worship, you were pleased to choose the blessed Pius to be Sovereign Pontiff; grant that we may be shielded by his watchfulness, and so abide in your holy service that, overcoming the wiles of all our enemies, we may enjoy unending peace.  Through our Lord...