Pope Blessed Pius IX (1792-1878) Image: St. Paul Street Evangelization
(Vatcan) Born in Italy Senigallia the the 9th child of Gerolamo Feretti and Caterina Solazzi local nobles, he was Baptized on the day of his birth and given the name Giovanni Maria — Giovanni was a frail child physically challenged with epilepsy but nevertheless of very lively intelligence, his childhood was marked by an intense religious life.
Giovanni was educated at the Piarist College in Italy Volterra according to SQPN from 1802-1809 when he moved to Rome for more intensive education, in 1812 his epilepsy forced him to interrupt his studies — In 1814 Giovanni entered the Roman Seminary to study Theology for the next four year at which time his epilepsy went into remission. On the 10 April, 1819 Giovanni was Ordained into the Priesthood in Rome. Conscious of his Noble rank according to the Vatican Fr. Giovanni committed himself to avoiding a prelatial career in order to remain only at the service of the Church.
Fr. Giovanni celebrated his first Mass in the Church of St. Anne of the Carpenters at the Tata Giovanni Institute, of which he was named Rector, remaining there until 1823 — Fr. Giovanni was immediately recognized as assiduous in prayer, the ministry of the Word, in celebration of the Liturgy, in the Confessional and above all in his daily life in service to the humblest and needy. Fr. Giovanni admirably united the active and contemplative life, ready for Pastoral needs but always interiorly recollected, with strong Eucharist — Marian devotion and fidelity to daily meditation and the examination of conscience.
In 1823 Fr. Giovanni left the Tata Giovanni Institute to serve the Apostolic Nuncio in Chile — Fr. Giovanni remained there until 1825 when he was elected President of St. Michael’s Hospice, a grand but complex institution in need of effective reforms. Two years later, he was consecrated Archbishop of Italy Spoleto, in 1839 he was made a Cardinal by Pope Gregory XVI and then in 1846 was elected Pope and took the name Pius IX
Pope Pius IX had a difficult Pontificate according to the Vatican but precisely because of that he became a great Pope. Thoroughly aware of being the ‘Vicar of Christ’ and responsible for the rights of God and of the Church, he was clear, simple and consistent, combining firmness and understanding, fidelity and openness. — Pope Pius IX was the last Pope to hold temporal authority, he would grant amnesty for political prisoners. — Celebrated the First Vatican Council from 1869-1870, he would create 123 Cardinals and gained a reputation for being patriotic and a reforming Pope.
In 1856 Pope Pius approved the plan for railways in the Papal states, inaugurating the first section between Rome and Civitavecchia — In 1857 he visited the Pal states and was welcomed everywhere with rejoicing. Pope Pius IX would send Missionaries to the North Pole, India, Burma, China and Japan during his Papacy.
On this date in 1878 the the longest Pontificate in history ended with the death of Pope Pius IX, he was Beatified in 2000 by Pope St. John Paul II