Saint Tarcissus – Martyr of the Eucharist
In third century Rome, the Catholic Church was severely persecuted. Christians were cruelly tortured to death. The Mass and the Sacraments were confined to secret meetings in the catacombs and in caves. Tarcissus, a young boy attracting little attention, used to routinely smuggle the Blessed Sacrament to the imprisoned Christians, who were awaiting certain martyrdom. Finally, confronted by ruffians himself, Tarcissus refused to reveal to them that he was secretly carrying the Body of Christ. They realized that he was a Christian and stoned him to death. Passing Christians recovered his broken body with the Blessed Sacrament untouched.
Tarcissus fell a martyr as a young boy, shielding the Eucharistic Bread on his breast.
Pope Damasus wrote the following inscription over Tarcissus’ tomb:
“Tarcissus went away bearing the sacraments of Christ, while criminals tried to profane them.
He, for his part, preferred to allow himself to be murdered rather than to deliver
the Body of Christ to mad dogs.”
His feast day is celebrated on August 15th of each year. In addition to being our Parish Patron, he is also the Patron Saint of First Communicants and Altar Servers.