A 5-year old shows us how it’s done

For those snobby dopes out there who think Joe and Mary Bagofdoughnuts in the pews are too stoopid to handle Latin or that hearing some chant is toooo haaaard.

Here is a 5 year old singing the common Christian table prayer in Latin.  Correctly.

Ex ore infantium perfecisti laudem.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. MrsMacD says:

    It makes me giggle. I, almost, told a priest who said he’d like to try the old Latin Mass but he was fearful of being able to, since he was having trouble with the new translation, that my boys could teach him. (Instead I told him there’s a movie).

  2. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Too cute.

  3. chantgirl says:

    Adorable kid (love the curls). Our co-op kids this year are taking conversational Latin in grades 1-6. They are learning vocab, prayers, silly pneumonic chants, and simple conversation. I was surprised by how excited they were to learn. Our middle school and high-schoolers are taking a Latin course with a tutor using Collins’ “Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin” and making good progress. I’m so happy to see a new generation bringing life back to our sacred tongue!

  4. DamianF says:

    I feel like I had a deprived childhood.

  5. Adrienne Regina says:

    Have you seen Brandon Vogt’s 5 year old, Isaiah?

  6. Mike says:

    May God shower grace through Mary Mediatrix upon families who are restoring the patrimony that was ripped from my generation by the Hell-spawned “Spirit of Vatican II.”

  7. SaintJude6 says:

    Yes, all of my children learn this, although we say it instead of singing it. Repeating something at three out of four meals per day tends to drive it home.
    Attending the sung Mass makes the prayers such as the Credo and the Gloria Patria and the Pater Noster easier to learn, since they are set to music.

  8. GypsyMom says:

    All the children at our homeschool co-op also learn this and pray it together every day before lunch. It took less than two weeks for the new students to memorize it, as well a memorizing the Sign of the Cross, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be in Latin. They’re still working on the Our Father. And they’re so excited to be saying the prayers in the language of the Church!

  9. Denis Crnkovic says:

    Teach them young! When my daughter was six years old, she would walk around the house singing the Regina coeli (simple tone) to herself. After all, she heard it every night as part of our night prayers. And for those who have bought into the “foreign languages are too far over our heads” mentality: When my (college) students complain about how hard Russian is, I tell them that it really isn’t all that difficult. After all, I know five-year olds who speak it perfectly well.

  10. Unwilling says:

    Of course, kids can be drilled like parrots. But I am pretty sure, from where he puts stresses with semantic effect etc., that this little guy somehow knows what he is saying.
    StJude6 is giving the students of very great worth, not only with the mastery of some classic texts in Latin, but regularly, every day, doing any wholesome thing three times!

  11. RichR says:

    My 3 year old chanting the Salve Regina:


  12. Mike says:

    Awesome. Makes me nostalgic for when my kids were that age.

    And such a step up from “youth choir” as experienced in my parish, alas!

  13. olorin12 says:

    You know what’s sad? I know who that kid is – he’s the son of a… wait for it… LUTHERAN PASTOR. This should bring shame upon all of us who are LATIN Catholics! [Hardly. First, it is GOOD that the son of the Lutheran pastor can do this. Second, it should inspire us to do the same, happily, rather than with a sense of shame.]

  14. olorin12 says:

    Fr., you are right. Please allow me to revise my comment:
    The boy’s father is a member of (and former dean of) the Society of St. Polycarp, a group of Catholic-minded Lutherans, of which I was formerly also a member. I am glad that this appreciation for our common Latin Catholic heritage is still present among them. They are a very tiny percentage of Lutherans. It does sadden me that when I became Catholic myself that there was only a similarly tiny percentage of Latin Catholics who appreciated that same heritage. I hope and pray that the number grows.

  15. William Tighe says:

    The child is Leo, son of Pastor Larry L. Beane III of Gretna, Louisiana.

  16. majuscule says:


    Amazing! Thank you for sharing.

  17. JohnNYC says:

    ????, ???!!!!!

  18. JohnNYC says:

    “????, ???!!!!!” is how my iPhone Greek font translates to Facebook. So I will try to relate kudos to young Leo from my computer now:

    ????, ???!!!!!!!

  19. NoraLee9 says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. Then, reading the comments, a goose egg to my forehead, as I banged my head upon the desk.
    I’m off to go do my Rosetta Stone Latin lessons.

  20. The Masked Chicken says:


    Let us say that you want that great-looking Greek character at just the right moment in your killer argument, but the stupid browser is, well, stupid and displays your brilliant script properly in preview mode, but not when published. What can a commenter do? That’s right, use unicode, the universal (okay, almost universal) method for displaying symbols. Watch as I screw-up and then correct my presentation.

    Let’s say one wants to quote the Our Father in Greek. It begins: hemon pater, which in Greek is rendered: ???? ?????

    Oh, no, the Greek didn’t render. Now what? Unicode to the rescue. Unicode is a universal bitmap for character sets in which each character is referenced using either a decimal code, a hexadecimal code, or a special html shortcut. To clue in the browser that unicode is coming, one prefaces to actual number by a code. For decimal it is &# and for hexadecimal it is &#x and then the code. For instance, the Greek letter beta is rendered ampersand pound 946 without any spaces: &#946 and in hexadecimal, it is ampersand pound x 03B2 without any spaces: &#x03B2 as you can see. One can also, for Greek, use the short-cut ampersand beta (or ampersand Beta for capital).

    Where does one find these code equivalences? There are several unicode converters on-line. One really good one is: http://www.alanwood.net/unicode/index.html#links

    If this works (note, this may be a Bullwinkle moment) then the Greek, above should be rendered:

    &#942&#956&#742&#957 &#960&#945&#964&#942&#961

    using decimals.

    Okay, let’s take this comment for a spin and see if it works. If not, I will be back for try number two.

    The Chicken

  21. The Masked Chicken says:

    Rats. “Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat…” Try two:

    &#942 &#956 &#742 &#957 &#960 &#945 &#964 &#942 &#961

    The Chicken

  22. The Masked Chicken says:

    Anybody else know how to get this to work? I suspect that unicode is not enabled in the blog settings?

    The Chicken

  23. Mike says:

    Not to turn your blog into a Unicode sandbox, Father; but, Chicken, it may work better with semicolons after the decimals (look at the source for this comment to see what I mean):
    ήμων πατερ

  24. The Masked Chicken says:

    Let’s see:

    ή μ ˦ ν π α τ ή ρ

    Okay, add to the Guide: end each ampersand pound number with a semicolon.

    The Chicken

  25. In reference to olorin12’s comment about the child being Lutheran, I get what you meant. Its not that Lutherans should be ashamed to be singing Latin, but that so many Catholics have lost this and Catholics should be ashamed. The world is upside down.
    My own mother learned Gregorian chant somewhere in the 30s or 40s by going up the street from her D.C. home to an Episcolpalians/Anglican community. Mother felt a bit betrayed that Catholics didn’t teach her – yet grateful that somebody did.

    Having learned to chant as a child, I can attest to the effects today. Back in the late 50s, early 60s, our family chanted compline at night and I learned all four of the Marian hymns in Latin and various psalm tones, plus became familiar with all sorts of Latin phrases. Children are sponges and can learn anything [good or bad]. When I join in singing in church today, I am familiar with so much more than others around me – it is very comforting to have this knowledge. Taught as children, we have significant practical knowledge that can be passed on to others.

    Children learning and singing Gregorian chant is what the Ward Method is all about. Odette Hertz, a student of Justine Ward, used to say that any child if taught early enough, can learn to sing. No rhythm? Teach children to listen to their own heartbeat. As far as being tone-deaf, Odette would cite the Chinese whose language is tonal – and every child speaks it. Start early enough to train the ear accurately.
    Those who want to preserve this sacred sung prayer must get familiar with the fascinating Ward method, which engages all the senses in the teaching method. If you haven’t already, look it up! Also the Ward method is in desperate need of teachers as people all over want to learn how to sight read chant. Quick! before this disappears!

  26. Unwilling says:

    For Unicode conversion, try
    For the correct original (remember GIGO) just search for it online,
    then copy paste that into the converter, click CONVERT
    then copy paste the output into the comment field.
    To test the result before sending to this blog
    click on the “Preview” button under the comment field
    (it may take several seconds to show you the result)
    to proof read and make sure it shows what you want.

    The Lord’s Prayer begins
    English: Our Father
    French: Notre Père
    Latin: Pater noster
    Greek: Πάτερ ἡμῶν

  27. apagano says:

    I agree!!! Our 3 yr old can say the Gloria Patri, the Table Blessing, the Regina Caeli, and most of the Salve Regina all in Latin. We also sing/say them in English. Repetition, repetition, repetition!!!! My kids were actually able to recite them before I was, I still mess up sometimes and they laugh and correct me.

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