February 23, 2018

St. Tarcissus

In 258 A.D., Pope Sixtus II was martyred in the Catacombs below Rome. He had violated an edict of the Emperor Valerian by visiting the “cemeteries.” The Catacombs had been the one place that Christians could take refuge and say Mass with some sense of security. Now, that was even forbidden.

The day after the execution of the Pope, it was determined that the Holy Eucharist should be sent to the faithful who remained in the city, in order to strengthen them for the death that awaited them as well. A boy named Tarcissus was given the task of taking the Blessed Sacrament to them. He wrapped it in linen and concealed it about his person.

As he approached the walls of the city, he was met by a party of soldiers. They demanded to see what he was carrying. He would not obey. They struck him repeatedly and killed him. Then they searched him but could find nothing. The Host had disappeared.

Shapcote, Emily Mary, Legends of the Blessed Sacrament (London, Burns & Oates) p. 11.


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