St Tarcisius, Martyr Of The Eucharist

Tarcisius was a 12 year old Christian during the persecution of Valerian.  The Christians would have Mass in the catacombs, entered by secret entrances on the outskirts of Rome.

After Mass, Hosts would be wrapped up and carried to the Christians in prison in the Coliseum, who were awaiting certain death.  After one of these Masses, there were no adults available.  Tarcisius stepped forward.  

He was a little boy, and small in stature.  "Let me take the Hosts to our brothers and sisters!  Because I am little, they will not suspect what I am doing!"

The priest hesitated.  "It is dangerous, Tarcisius.  If you are discovered, you will certainly die as well."  But Tarcisius insisted, and the Sacred Hosts were carefully wrapped and concealed in his tunic, against his chest.

So Tarcisius left the catacombs and was walking along the Appian Way, when he was spotted by some pagan friends of his.  "Tarcisius!  Hey - Tarcisius! Come and play!"

"I'm sorry.  I can't today.  I have an errand to do."

"So what is it you are hiding in your tunic?"

"My Jesus, help me!"

"Jesus?  We didn't know you are a Christian.  You're an enemy of the emperor.  Let's get him!"  And they got stuck into him, kicking and beating him with clubs and stones, all the time trying to ****** from him the pouch containing the Sacred Hosts.  But Tarcisius guarded the pouch with every ounce of strength he had, fearing the sacrilege that would result if the pagans were successful.  

Finally, they rendered the poor boy unconscious.  So they turned over his limp body to steal the pouch, only to find that there was nothing there. Suddenly they were spotted by a Roman soldier and fearing arrest, they fled.  This soldier, Fortunatus, was also a Christian, and recognised Tarcisius from the catacombs.

"Such a little lad to give his life for Christ!"  He ran to Tarcisius and helped him to sit up.  But the boy was too close to death.  There was nothing the soldier could do, except pick him up and carry him to the catacombs.  And there, he was venerated as a martyr and his remains were treated with the greatest respect.

St Tarcisius's remains are now kept in the church of San Silvestro in Capite.

St Tarcisius is honoured by the Catholic Church as a martyr of the Eucharist and the Patron Saint of Altar Servers.

perseverer perseverer
56-60, F
7 Responses Jun 3, 2011

My eldest boy, John Paul, 10 years of age, became an altar server last Dec 2013. He is very dedicated in serving the church during masses. My youngest son, CHRISTIAN, 7 years of age, printed out St. Tarcisius' picture from your post for his religion subject. Thank you for sharing St. Tarcisius with us. God bless you.

I am so glad you found this post and that it was able to help your son. God bless you and your family.

Excellent point, Solia. Have you ever heard the beautiful Catholic hymn, "Faith of Our Fathers"? Perhaps I should do a story on it. We are indebted to the martyrs of every age. <br />
<br />
"Our fathers chained in prisons dark<br />
Were yet in mind and conscience free.<br />
How sweet would be their children's fate<br />
If they like them could die for Thee."

Whenever I think of how much our ancestors gave to be Catholics I feel proud of them and I feel an increase of reverence towards the Catholic faith. What a hard journey Catholics survived together.

Thank you for expressing your appreciation.

Very interesting and touching

Not only that, Nell, but a 12 year old child. He is a great inspiration to us in our cushy times, and a great witness to the Eucharist.

How many of us today would lay down our lives without a qualm, to defend Our Lord from desecration? <br />
We truly have religious freedom of ex<x>pression compared to the early centuries after Christ died, when so many martyrs gave their lives to defend the Faith.<br />
How many today do not honour, love and respect Jesus in the Tabernacle?