Saint Tarcisius, the boy martyr of the Holy Eucharist, is called the Patron Saint of First Communicants.

It was to young Tarcisius that the Blessed Sacrament was entrusted to be carried, as inconspicuously as possible, as Holy Viaticum to imprisoned Christians who had been condemned to death.

One day when Tarcisius refused to show them what he was carrying, a band of pagan Roman ruffians attacked him and beat him with sticks before stoning him to death.

When his assailants turned over Tarcisius' body and searched him, they could find no trace of the Most Blessed Sacrament either in his hands or on his clothing–Christ had miraculously disappeared. Christians took up the body of the young martyr and buried it with great respect in the cemetery of Callistus.

In the fourth century, Pope St. Damasus composed an epitaph for the young martyr's tomb which he had carefully restored and beautified.

The epitaph leaves no doubt that belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord's Body and Blood in the Blessed Sacrament was the same then as it is now. "Christ's secret gifts by good Tarcisius borne, the mob profanely bade him to display; He rather gave his own limbs to be torn than Christ's celestial to mad dogs betray."

Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration Newsletter
March 1989

Reprinted from Witness Ministries, a lay apostolate dedicated to renewing appreciation for the Mass as the greatest gift which God has given to His beloved spouse, the Church. Their mission is to show how, in the Eucharistic Liturgy, Jesus renews and transforms us–and the world–in His life and love.