Pope Saint Leo IX was the first pope who worked for reform in the Church. He was born in 1002 and given the name Bruno at Baptism. He was educated at a school for the children of Germany’s royal families and taught by the bishop of his diocese. As a priest, Fr. Bruno served at the cathedral before being named bishop of Toul.

Twenty years later, Bruno was appointed pope, but he would not accept leadership over the Church until being approved by the priests, bishops, and people of Rome. After the long journey, Bishop Bruno arrived in the holy city dressed as a simple traveler. He was greeted by cheers at his humble manner and was immediately accepted by everyone as the new Holy Father. Bruno took the name Pope Leo IX.

Leo quickly called attention to two issues badly in need of reform: simony, the buying and selling of sacred offices and things; and the practice of priestly celibacy. Some men had actually paid money to be appointed bishops. Leo quickly removed these false successors to the Apostles and appointed men who truly had the gifts necessary to lead a diocese.

Other men simply ignored the Church’s tradition of priestly celibacy. They married and had families. Their family responsibilities made it difficult for them to serve their parish or diocese with all their hearts.

Pope Leo did not just write letters or give sermons to announce his reforms. He traveled to major dioceses to conduct meetings and discuss why the reforms were necessary. He traveled so much that he was nicknamed the “Apostolic Pilgrim.” Leo also appointed men who believed in the reforms to important Church positions. Leo knew that the changes he wanted would not be accomplished in his lifetime. He trusted the men he appointed to carry out the needed reforms and they did.

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  1. Pray for us St. Leo IX. That we may know what it means to be Christian men and women. And that our priests may live as Jesus once lived.

  2. pray for me St. Leo ninth St. Nicholas The Great first I have the mind of God I am Christian unity and a incorruptible mind.

  3. Dear St. Leo IX, please pray for all of us that carry a cross. Please intercede for us all and give us the strength to carry this cross and to give us patience and let us continue to have faith in God that he will help us in our time of need.
    Also pray for our church as it is in need of help. Please guide our priests to not stray from their teachings.

  4. We pray for your holy clarity and intercession, for a fervent return to valued modesty, chastity, celibacy. That all young men and women know they are cherished just as they are, from the moment of baptism throughout their earthly existence. That purity of the body is beautiful. That shame or guilt or sin is natural to our condition, and that it can be healed by Our Lord, through Mary and Joseph’s example. Make us yearn for detachment from monetary value assigned to people and things, which corrupts and demeans the soul. Free us from the evil of human trafficking and false ownership. Amen.

  5. Dear St. Leo, May all of your plans to make changes in our church be ongoing. We have gone through a particularly difficult time with the priests and administrators of the church. With your intercession we will come through this ordeal and many others, as our church evolves through the ages. And may God bless you for all you tried to do.

  6. What happened to the priests’ families after St Leo’s reformed the law? Were they grandfathered in? I’m working on history…


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