August Entrée Europe Martyrs Recipes Saints

Saint Tarcisius

Feast Day: August 15

How To Make Manicotti

Today we are feasting with… Saint Tarcisius. 

A portrait of Saint Tarcisius.
Saint Tarcisius

Tarcisius is the patron saint of first communicants. This is a fitting designation due to the way he demonstrated such a great love for the Holy Eucharist. To celebrate his feast day, we chose to make a manicotti dish.

Did you know that the word manicotti means “little sleeves”?
We find that to be a very cute way to describe a pasta shell! Yet, upon further inspection, we’ll explain why this Italian dish becomes a dramatic interpretation of martyrdom.

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A Missal for Children is the perfect companion to help your children participate in the prayers at Mass, prepare for receiving Communion, say a prayer of thanksgiving after Communion, pray every morning and evening on their own or as a family, and prepare themselves to confess their sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Altar Server

Tarcisius was an altar server during the Christian persecution under the Roman Emperor, Valerian. During this time, Christians had to celebrate the Mass in underground tunnels called catacombs. One day, the priest asked who would be willing to risk their lives to carry the Holy Eucharist to their fellow Christians in prison. The priests, and most of the men, were too well known and risked losing the Eucharist and their lives if they were seen. Young Tarcisius volunteered, saying his youth would be the perfect disguise. The pagans would think he was merely a messenger boy.

A Hidden Treasure

At first, the priest refused because he thought Tarcisius was too young, but eventually, the priest allowed him to go. Tarcisius was so happy to be able to carry the Eucharist. While whispering words of love to our Lord on his way to the prison, Tarcisius met a few boys from school. The boys invited him to play, but Tarcisius was on a mission and could not be distracted.

He is a Christian!

When Tarcisius refused to play, the boys became suspicious and noticed he was clutching something to his chest. They started trying to pry his hands away from whatever he was holding. Tarcisius muttered a prayer to Jesus, asking Him for strength. One of the boys heard him and shouted, “He is a Christian!” The boys started beating him, trying harder than ever to get whatever Tarcisius was holding. While this was happening, a man walked up and demanded to know the problem. The boys explained that Tarcisius was a Christian, so the man struck Tarcisius hard on the head, knocking him to the ground. However, Tarcisius still clung to the Eucharist and would not let go.

Rushed Away

A soldier ran up to Tarcisius, picked him up, scolded the boys for ganging up on Tarcisius, and rushed him away. The secret Christian soldier carried Tarcisius to the safety of the priest hidden in the catacombs. Sadly, when they arrived at the catacombs, Tarcisius was already dead. They searched him for the Holy Eucharist, but it had miraculously disappeared.


Since manicotti means “little sleeves”, we can imagine Tarcisius trying to protect the Eucharist by hiding our Lord in his little sleeves. The white mozzarella represents the purity of Tarcisius. The red pasta sauce that covers the dish represents the blood of the martyr. Finally, the green garnish of basil represents a new life with our Lord in Heaven.

Manicotti is a great way to celebrate the feast of Saint Tarcisius. Download the recipe and enjoy it with your family and friends.

The feast day of Saint Tarcisius is August 15. He is the patron of altar servers, deacons, and First Communicants.  

Saint Tarcisius, pray for us!

Download Manicotti Recipe

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  • 1 ( 8 ounce) box Manicotti Shells
  • 1 (30 ounce) container Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 3 cups shredded Mozzarella, divided
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 (8 ounce) package frozen Spinach, thawed, well drained
  • ¼ teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 (24 ounce) jar prepared Pasta Sauce

Preparation Instructions:

  1. In a large pot, boil manicotti shells according to package instructions for ‘al dente’.
  2. Drain and set shells on a towel to cool and remove excess water.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together ricotta, one cup of mozzarella, egg, spinach, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
  4. Pipe filling into the manicotti shells using a piping bag or large ziplock.
  5. Cover bottom of a 13×9″ pan with 1/2 cup of pasta sauce.
  6. Place filled manicotti in rows to fill pan.
  7. Pour remaining pasta sauce over the shells and top with remaining mozzarella.
  8. Bake, uncovered, at 350°F for 30 minutes.