Tarcisius was a twelve-
On the way, he was stopped by boys his own age who were not Christians but knew him as a playmate and lover of games. He was asked to join their games, but this time he refused and the crowd of boys noticed that he was carrying something. Somehow, he was also recognized as a Christian, and the small gang of boys, anxious to view the Christian "Mysteries," became a mob and turned upon Tarcisius with fury. He went down under the blows, and it is believed that a fellow Christian drove off the mob and rescued the young acolyte.
The mangled body of Tarcisius was carried back to the catacombs, but the boy died on the way from his injuries. He was buried in the cemetery of St. Callistus, and his relics are claimed by the church of San Silvestro in Capite.
In the fourth century, Pope St. Damasus wrote a poem about this "boy-
Tarcisius, one of the patron saints of altar boys, has always been an example of youthful courage and devotion, and his story was one that was told again and again to urge others to a like heroism in suffering for their faith. In the Passion of Pope Stephen, written in the sixth century, Tarcisius is said to be an acolyte of the pope himself and, if so, this explains the great veneration in which he was held and the reason why he was chosen for so difficult a mission.
Thought for the Day: Mere boys can become saints, and youth is no barrier to holiness. The call to holiness begins at baptism, and we do not have to wait for old age and gray hair to serve God. Youthful saints tell us something about sanctity, and their example is especially luminous as they dedicate their young lives to God.
From 'The Catholic One Year Bible': In a race, everyone runs but only one person gets first prize. So run your race to win. To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best. -
Taken from "The One Year Book of Saints" by Rev. Clifford Stevens, published by Our Sunday Visitor Books, Huntington, IN 46750.