Child Saints and The Holy Eucharist
By Lisa Janusa
Many of our children will be receiving the sacrament of first holy Communion this spring, and I would like to share some stories that you might tell them about the beauty of receiving Christ’s body.
Blessed Imelda Lambertini was an only child of a noble Catholic family who lived in Italy in 1322. Her parents shared their great love and practice of their faith. They brought her to holy Mass and evening prayer with the sisters at the Dominican convent nearby.
Imelda was drawn to the Dominican way of life and was given the opportunity to live at the convent to pray, work and study. Her greatest desire was to be able to receive the Eucharist at Mass. She was 9 years old, and most candidates had to be 14 or older at that time.
They told her she would have to wait.
On May 12, 1333, she attended the vigil of the Ascension Mass. She was deep in prayer and suddenly a light – which looked like a communion host – hovered above her head. A witness called the priest to see, and the priest decided to give her holy Communion.
She remained in prayer for a long time after Mass. Later, one of the sisters came to get her for dinner and, when she didn’t respond, she touched her which made her fall to the floor dead. She died of happiness!
The early days of Catholicism in Rome were very dangerous. Christians had to hide from the emperor or be killed. They met in secret to celebrate holy Mass. One day, before Mass, a messenger came to bring the bishop an urgent plea. Some bishops and priests had been arrested and put in prison and were sentenced to death. The prisoners prayed that someone could bring them the Eucharist for strength and courage before facing their torture and death.
A young boy named Tarcisius volunteered. He held the Eucharist close to his heart and started to make his way when his friends saw him and asked him to play a game. They were curious what he was holding and tried to pull his hands away to see what he was carrying. He refused, and they beat him.
A passerby, who saw this, realized he might be a Christian and hit him very hard. Next, a soldier came and picked him up calling his attackers cowards. The soldier was a secret Christian. Later, as Tarcisius lay dying, he begged the soldier to deliver the Eucharist to the prisoners for him. Tarcisius gave his life because of his great love of Jesus in the most holy Eucharist.