The role of the altar server can perhaps be traced back to the third century. In August 2010 at his weekly catechesis, Pope Benedict XVI addressed more than 80,000 pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the audience, including more than 55,000 altar servers from across Europe. His catechesis
was devoted to St. Tarcisius, who is the patron saint of altar servers, and he pointed to the saint’s faithfulness to the Lord as a model first and foremost for altar servers in the Church, but also for every member of the Christian community.
We know very little about St. Tarcisius other than he lived during the early times of the Church, specifically in the third century. He had a deep love for the Eucharist, and
from various sources, we are able to presume that he was an acolyte — that is, an altar server. It is documented that St. Tarcisius was martyred in 257 during the Roman persecutions whilst taking The Blessed Sacrament to condemned Christians in prison;
he was attacked and beaten to death.
Pope Damasus (366–384) in a poem composed to St. Tarsicius writes:
When an insane gang pressed saintly Tarsicius, who was carrying the sacraments of Christ, to display them to the profane, he preferred to be killed and give up his life rather than
betray to rabid dogs the heavenly body.
Servers at St Barnabas probably will not be called to martyrdom but they do serve Jesus
true and present in the Eucharist. They perform their duties with reverence, devotion and faithfulness.
The example of St. Tarcisius urges us each day to love Jesus and to carry out
his will for us. Pray for our team of servers.