August Europe Martyrs Saints

Saint Tarcisius

Feast Day: August 15

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Today we are feasting with… Saint Tarcisius. 

Saint Tarcisius

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 life 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 he allowed him to go. Tarcisius was so happy to be able to carry the Eucharist. He whispered words of love to Our Lord. On his way to the prison, Tarcisius met a few boys from school and they invited him to play.

When Tarcisius refused, they 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 to give him strength. One of the boys heard him and shouted, “He is a Christian,” and the boys started beating him, trying harder than ever to get whatever he was holding. While this was happening, a man walked up and demanded to know what the problem was. The boys explained that Tarcisius was a Christian, and the man struck him hard on the head, knocking Tarcisius to the ground. However, Tarcisius clung to the Eucharist.

A soldier ran up to Tarcisius, picked him up, scolded the boys for ganging up on Tarcisius, and rushed him away. Tarcisius recognized the soldier as one of the Christians in the catacombs. The soldier carried him to the priest. Sadly, by the time he arrived at the catacombs, Tarcisius had died. They searched him for the Holy Eucharist, but it had miraculously disappeared.

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

Saint Tarcisius, pray for us!

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