Saint Tarcisius was a young boy who lived in an age when Christians were persecuted and imprisoned. Bishops and priests would secretly send the Holy Eucharist to the prisoners even though it was so dangerous. One day, a Bishop received a letter after mass. It came from Christian prisoners, asking for the Holy Eucharist so that they may find strength and gladly accept a martyr’s death in prison. The Bishop asked people to gather around to find someone who would send the Holy Communion to the prisoners. Tarcisius volunteered and convinced the Bishop that nobody would suspect him since he was just a boy. He was given some hosts carefully wrapped in a linen cloth and he placed it in his tunic by his heart. As Tarcisius was delivering the hosts, he passed by his classmates who were looking for another member to play a game. They called him over and asked what he was holding by his chest. Tarcisius refused to tell them, making them more curious. They grabbed him and tried pulling at his chest. Tarcisius quietly asked the Lord for strength and one of the boys heard him. Realizing that he must be carrying some Christian mystery, the school boys began to strike and stone him. Tarcisius never loosened his grip. A soldier walked by and pulled him away from the others, telling them to stop. Taricisius looked at the soldier's face and recognized him from the gathering that the Bishop had called for.
“I am dying,” Tarcisius said as he passed the hosts over to the soldier. He asked the soldier to give them to the prisoners for him, and passed away in the soldier’s arms. Saint Tarcisius died to share Jesus with his fellow brothers and sisters who were being persecuted in the Lord’s name. He is the patron saint of altar servers and first communicants.
Lord, Saint Tarcisius gave his life for you, give us strength to follow his example. Help us stay faithful and strong through hardships and struggles. We ask this through Christ, Our Lord, Amen.