Got A Catholic Question? Seven-Year-Old Will Answer
…Still, James is really proud of a nearly 200-day communion streak — he hasn’t missed a day since last October, when his pastor gave him a special dispensation to receive his First Communion a year and a half early.
James has amassed a knowledge and understanding of all things Catholic that would send even the most devout nun’s head spinning. The Nintendo you might expect to find in his room has been displaced by a small table of statuary, crucifixes, icons, saints cards and a mini Vatican flag. Plus a few baseball cards and a Red Sox pennant.
He once gave a lecture on the life of St. Patrick to the other members of his pre-kindergarten class.
You might think it would be easy to stump a 7-year-old. Not this 7-year-old. Even the priests at St. Peter’s say they can’t do it.
“What are the 10 commandments?”
James spouts them back, correctly. It takes about eight seconds.
“Give me something hard,” he says, “really hard!”
“OK, what’s the feast day of Saint Augustine of Hippo?”
James sighs and shrugs, disappointed he didn’t get something more difficult.
“Aug. 27,” he says.
He stops, pauses and corrects himself. “I mean Aug. 28th. Saint Monica is the 27th.” He’s correct.
Sts. Peter Damascene, Basil the Great, Bonaventure, Joan of Arc, Margaret, Titus — name this kid a saint and he’s got the feast day and vital stats on their life.
His favorite saint? St. James the Greater (they do have the same name, after all). Feast day? July 25.
He can also explain the joys and sorrows of Mary, how all the martyrs of the church have died, the seven deadly sins, the corporal and spiritual works of the Holy Spirit, the 14 holy helpers, and the 33 “doctors” of the church — in order, including the pope who appointed them.
Speaking of the church’s most eminent theologians, who was No. 8?
James sits and thinks, rolling his eyes as if scanning reams of church history in his head. St. John Chrysostom, the doctor of preachers, he says 30 seconds later. Born in A.D. 345, to be precise.
Just to be sure, he asks his father to check. He’s correct.
After a thorough 20-minute pop quiz, there just aren’t any more questions.