A hand-written apostolic blessing from St. Pius X, dated over a century ago, was just found by chance in an attic in Yorkshire, reviving the figure of the holy pope from the beginning of the 20th century.
The handwritten text was sent by St. Pius X in 1908 for the fiftieth anniversary of the Catholic Young Men’s Society, an association of young Catholics based in Wakefield, a town in the county of West Yorkshire in England. The letter was written four days after the pope received a request for a blessing from Rev. Fr. Timothy Courtney, S.J., who was the president of the association at the time.
This hand-written note was discovered by Norman Hazell, the man who led the association for over fifty years. The letter, found in his attic had “probably been there for forty or fifty years,” he said. It has since been handed over to the church of St. Austin in Wakefield.
Norman Hazell declared to the local newspaper, the Wakefield Express, that it “was quite uncommon in those days to receive [a papal blessing]. Nowadays everyone gets a blessing, when a young Catholic couple get married, they are provided with a nice picture of the pope signed by a cardinal.
“But Fr Courtney took it upon himself to write to Vatican City asking the Pope if he would give a blessing. He must have been amazed when the pope wrote back in his own hand. It was Pope Pius X, who has since been canonized. He was a wonderful pope, such a good pope.”
Here is the text of the hand-written note by Pope St. Pius X: “As petitioned for, we most lovingly impart the apostolic benediction upon our beloved son, the director [Fr Courtney], and to all the likewise beloved young men enrolled in the society”.
St. Pius X, who was pope from 1903 to 1914, was an active pope in the beginning of the 20th century, both in doctrinal and pastoral matters: restorer of the liturgy and of Biblical studies, defender of the Faith against the attacks of Modernism, apostle of Communion for little children, and reformer of Church law.