The Roman Martyrology, based on the fourth-century poem of Pope St. Damasus, gives the story of the "boy martyr of the Eucharist" in these words: "At Rome, on the Appian way, the passion of St. Tarcisius the acolyte, whom pagans met carrying the sacrament of the Body of Christ and asked him what it was he was carrying. He deemed it a shameful thing to cast pearls before the swine, and so was assaulted by them for a long time with clubs and stones [and martyred.]"
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Another Teenager's View of the Same Eucharist
"A tradition dating from the sixth century says that St. Tarcisius was an acolyte whose fidelity and courage so impressed the leaders of the Church during the persecution of Valerian that he was entrusted with taking the Blessed Sacrament secretly to the Christians who awaited martyrdom in prison. This custom arose when the priests who ministered to the prisoners would be easily discovered, while the acolytes were less known to the heathens.