feast – Aug. 26
Tarsicius was likely an acolyte, a deacon or even a layman in Rome during the time of Emperor Valerian’s persecution. He was martyred while taking the Eucharist to Christian prisoners, beaten to death with sticks and stones by a mob of pagans on the Appian Way when he would not surrender the Communion he was carrying. One tradition claims he was buried in the cemetery of St. Callistus. Pope St. Damasus I suggested an early cult by describing his martyrdom in a fourth-century poem. His legend was further embellished in the 19th-century novel “Fabiola.” Tarsicius is the patron saint of first communicants, altar servers and the Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament.