By allowing young children to approach the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at the age of reason, St. Pius X powerfully encouraged children to strive to holiness. Thus he originated a great movement of popular piety among youth which was created in 1914 by a Belgian priest, Fr. Edouard Poppe (1890-1924). The Eucharistic Crusade was launched again by the seminarians in Econe in the 1980’s.
On August 8, 1910, in the decree Quam Singulari, Pope St. Pius X authorized the admission of children to Holy Communion starting at the age of reason.
"The age of discretion, both for confession and for Holy Communion, is the time when a child begins to reason, that is about the 7th year, more or less. From that time on begins the obligation of fulfilling the precept of both Confession and Communion.”
St. Pius X recalled on that occasion the obligation of those who are responsible for children to make sure that the latter frequently approach the holy altar.
This decree was the origin of the Eucharistic Crusade. Indeed, by allowing young children to approach the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist at the age of reason, St. Pius X powerfully encouraged children to strive to holiness. Thus he originated a great movement of popular piety among youth.
Eucharistic devotion among children
The Eucharistic Crusade was one of the finest fruits of this movement. The Eucharistic Crusade came into being in 1914, founded by a Belgian priest, Fr. Edouard Poppe (1890-1924) to promote Eucharistic devotion among children. Its motto nicely summarizes the desire to encourage young people to strive for genuine sanctity: “Pray, receive communion, make sacrifices, be an apostle."
The Crusade is made up of three spiritual ranks:
The Crusader’s motto is entirely contained in these four imperatives: pray, receive communion, make sacrifices, be an apostle.
Every month the Crusade offers its prayers, Holy Communions, work and sacrifices for one of the major intentions of the Church determined by Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X.
Today the Eucharistic Crusade is an apostolate of the Society of St. Pius X that has spread to priories in almost all parts of the world.