ASK FATHER: “My 4 year old insists on praying in Latin.” Latin resources for young children?

From a reader…


Thank you for the delightful and edifying omnibus that is your blog. It is my understanding that Pope St. John XXIII or his delegate created a syllabus of works to be read when studying Latin. Do you have a copy of this for those studying at home? Also, my 4 y.o. Is insisting upon saying her prayers in Latin. Do you or the readers know of any resources for young children to study or read in Latin? Thank you.

Everyone should read St. John XXIII’s … not Encyclical … not Apostolic Exhortation… not daily fervorino… but Apostolic Constitution Veterum sapientia in the importance of Latin.

I’d be a lot more impressed with those who say dopey things like “2+2=5!” or “Anyone who resists Francis is against Vatican II!” or who think that the Second Vatican Council was the most incredible thing since the Council of Jerusalem, if they would actually do what the Council asked as far as liturgy, music and Latin is concerned.

As far as resources are concerned, I’ll open the floor to the readership.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    One of the cutest things was when our 4 year old daughter insisted, nay, DEMANDED, we start praying in Latin.

    We started with the basics: Pater Noster, Ave Maria and Gloria Patri, pronouncing and annunciating them clearly so she could hear and repeat. That way we could also pray the rosary together in Latin as a family.

  2. roma247 says:

    Love the meme! There is just so much more satisfaction in humor that is truly clever. Lucius Caeliambulus indeed!

  3. William of Green says:

    Here is a link to a website that I know has videos to go with most of their prayers. Unfortunately all of the videos that they have are in English, but (not to be confused with Catholic Answers at has a nice list of some prayers in Latin, including the before meal prayer.

  4. acardnal says:

    You can print or listen or order a FREE audio cd of prayers in Latin here:

  5. wbloomfield says:

    For a 4-year-old, I’d simply teach them to pray and sing the basic prayers in Latin. Every night, we sing the Pater Noster. We finish with the seasonal Marian Antiphon (currently, the Regina Caeli). Here’s a post I wrote last year that includes embedded videos so you can learn the four seasonal Marian antiphons.

    If you want to go deeper, as your child gets older, I recommend Ralph McInerny’s Let’s Read Latin. Available at Amazon here: The first lessons were most helpful to me as they gave me a strong understanding of all of the words in both the Pater Noster and the Ave Maria.

  6. grumpyoldCatholic says:

    I know this might be a little much but I have purchased this. It m ight be a good family thing. Learn together

  7. Deo volente says:

    Ahhh… The marvelous site “Fisheaters”!

    Prayers in Latin and English

  8. jme493 says:

    Memoria Press has an excellent Latin program that is for kids as young as first grade. I’ve started my children in 2nd grade with Prima Latina. Here’s a link:

  9. benedetta says:

    I can recommend the books and other resources published by Memoria Press for teaching Latin to children at home. For tiny ones who cannot yet write in a workbook, I would suggest their lovely music book of Latin prayers. The sheet music is simply played on the piano or sung, and the Latin is right there in a separate text and also within the music for parents to work from. These are essential Latin prayers of the Church, set, for some, to ancient chanted melody. For little ones instead of workbook and flash cards etc., it might be best to focus on teaching prayers, English and Latin, and reading simple stories already known which are translated into Latin. Other readers might be able to link to those as I have seen people chime in on that on past posts on this topic.

  10. Mat. Anna says:

    I think the youngest program is probably beyond a 4yo, but it would come in handy soon. (Plus, linking for anyone with slightly older kids who is interested.)

  11. Precentrix says:

    For very young children, Bolchazy has some books:
    Quot Animalia? – the names of many common animals, and also Roman numerals
    Quo Colore est? – many different colors and nouns commonly associated with those colors
    Quid Edam? – common breakfast, lunch, and dinner foods
    Quis me amat? – Latin words for family members

    Usborne do a “First 1000 words” Latin edition, and a Latin word sticker book.

    An amusing supplement to beginning courses:

    For primary aged children, though usually a little older than 4yo:

    Lingua Latina per se illustrata (part 1 is Familia Romana)

    Prima Latina from Memoria Press

    Minumus series, which has a new book “Minimusculus” introducing the characters and talking about some of the way of life of the ancient Romans etc. aimed at children 4+
    (last I remember this kind of led on to Cambridge Latin course of the Caecilius est in horto variety).

    Fabulae Caeciliae

  12. Philmont237 says:

    We sing the prayers to our kids in Latin as their lullabys. My 2 year old even knows some of Tantum Ergo and asks for it by name, as well as the Regina Caeli. My 4 year old can do the whole Salve Regina as well as the Tantum Ergo. Just do it everyday and they learn fast.

  13. mysticalrose says:

    We sing the Salve Regina everynight at the end of our evening prayers, so the youngest child usually knows it by age three or so. Otherwise we just do the simple prayers (Pater, Ave, Gloria) with the littles, as people have already suggested. Then the Sanctus and Angnus Dei for Kindergarten. For real Latin curriculum, we do not begin until first grade.

  14. mysticalrose says:

    Also, the kids really like learning the Latin hymns that accompany the liturgical seasons. This year, we worked on the Pange Lingua during Lent so they would be ready for Holy Thursday, and the the Victimae Paschali Laudes for Easter.

  15. Thorfinn says:

    We started singing the Marian antiphons following Mr. Bloomfield’s videos (see wbloomfield’s comment, above) and now our children seldom let us get away with only singing one per night. “We can’t go to sleep yet — WE NEED SALVE REGINA FIRST!” Well, okay, twist my arm. The Nunc Dimittis is another night-appropriate prayer we haven’t put in play yet.

    Strange to say I have a hard time finding good chant videos for instructional purposes — most public videos are beautiful but to the novice may as well be “Louie Louie” — the melody drowns out the enunciation of individual words or syllables. Chant is easy to learn by ear … but only if you can hear it clearly.

  16. 1jacobo5 says:

    St. Vincent Ferrer Foundation in Texas has a wonderful webpage with audio playback

  17. Bob B. says:

    Teaching Latin to 5-8 graders, who knew absolutely nothing about it, prompted me to approach it in a couple of different ways.
    Beginning with watching taped Latin Masses from the 1950s sparked the interest. I would then have them remember basic prayers (Fisheaters was a great central place to obtain them) – they were tested on them, as well. I taught them altar serving, making use of Latin in many different ways.
    I talked with the Music teacher and together we started teaching them some of the basic songs – which the music teacher taught the entire school, winning some competitions, too.
    I found a basic Latin textbook that used Roman stories for grammar. I made it optional to answer questions over the weekend – they surprised me, all participated! I had a few books of easily read Latin stories, for instance the Cat in the Hat that they all enjoyed. I had a class reading book using a Catholic novel, which often students were able to easily understand because it was addressed in what we were doing (e.g., the Mass).
    For years, all my classes enjoyed doing this, scoring well on national tests – none of which were part of the watered-down Religion textbooks.

  18. benedetta says:

    Here is the link to the Latin prayers songbook by Memoria Press. This would serve as a lovely introduction to Latin to the littler ones, who may not yet read or write, and it’s also wonderful catechesis, and it has appropriate prayers and traditional chants depending on the liturgical season:

  19. MBinSTL says:

    It’s not an educational resource per se, but the Thesaurus Precum Latinarum is, as it claims, a treasury of Latin prayers:

  20. GM Thobe says:

    Benedetta, is this something we would need the teacher/student books or is this alone sufficient? (Does the teacher book offer pronunciations?)

  21. adriennep says:

    Check out the web site for the Little Latin Readers series. They cover all the territory of the intimidating Latin grammars but in an approachable, colorful, easy to follow way that is all Catholic. Good for the whole family!

  22. Is that Bayeux-Tapestry rendition of The Empire Strikes Back on any coffee mugs or T-shirts? I’d buy several, and I bet I’m not alone.

  23. KateD says:

    My son also said he felt called to pray the rosary in Latin at a young age. He toddled out from his bedroom shortly after bed time one evening and said he felt like his guardian angel was correcting him gently every time he went to recite it in English. Not that the rosary is bad in ANY language….but he said it was as if it was somehow better in Latin. Latin can’t hurt, so I’ve done what I can to help him learn.

    One thing I found useful for young children in learning anything is singing. My kids have learned everything from the 50 Nifty United States in alphabetical order to prayers in Latin through song.

    So for instance, I wanted our family to become accoustomed to a regular rhythm of prayer, like the hours, so I settled on my children learning the Angelus. I set an alarm on my iPhone to sound at 6am, Noon and 6pm. The “alarm” is a Gregorian Chant version of the Angelus I found on iTunes (from the Daughters of Mary: a Day in the Cloister…absolutely beautiful!). The kids learned it quicker than I did! And I can’t sing…But I do, with them…loudly and joyfully…..

    Three times a day is a quick way to learn. So now they know the Angelus is Latin and it was painless and fun. They also know it in English, so it helps them understand the Latin words. It’s a good pre-curricular way to become aquatinted with Latin.

  24. Suburbanbanshee says:

    The Great Courses has a Latin 101 course. It is college level and it is Classical Latin pronunciation, but the explanations are very good. And having video of a teacher really helps. If the family watches together in small bites, a video might be an easier way for a young kid to learn Latin.

    (The textbook is available for download if you buy the course, or if you buy a Roku or app subscription. It is not included with the Amazon Prime channel.)It is a 400+ page text, so obviously it is college level and not for kids.)

  25. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Anyway… The same eccentric professor teaches both Latin 101 and Greek 101, and he is the sort of prof that kids might like.

  26. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Also, I forgot to say that both the Latin and Greek course reference Bible verses as well as classical authors. I like them a lot, so far. (Latin as a refresher, and Greek because learning Greek is cool!)

  27. neil.mac says:

    Latin resource for young children.

    The “Minimus” series. Published by Cambridge University Press

    The first in the series: “Minimus – starting out in Latin” – 9780521659604

    The teacher’s book – 9780521659611

  28. Kate says:

    The Missionary Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi have some really nice online tutorials for learning to pray in Latin. The prayers are read at a slow pace so that you can practice your reading and pronunciation with them.

  29. chantgirl says:

    I second the recommendation for Memoria Press, although Prima Latina might be a little advanced for a 4-year-old. Two other resources I would suggest:

    Pro Multis Media has a Latin rosary DVD . The prayers are said in Latin and you can choose English or Latin for the subtitles. Even my toddlers who can’t read yet have learned to say prayers in Latin through this recitation of the rosary.

    Classical Academic Press has a program for young children to begin learning Latin. Their Song School Latin DVD and supplemental materials are very entertaining for preK-primary grades. The materials can be used for classical or ecclesiastical pronunciation as they cover the differences. The skits are cute. I also like their program Latin for Children for older elementary children as it is very memorization based and they use catchy songs and chants to memorize.

  30. Kmom says:

    We use Classical Academic Press. In particular, Sing Song Latin for our little children. They love it.

  31. seeker says:

    You can google “pray the rosary in Latin” and various communities will come up praying or singing the rosary on youtube so you can choose which pace you like best.
    As a former homeschool mom, I like Lingua Latina for the early years, and Cambridge Latin series because the stories are interesting.

  32. Mariana2 says:

    IMMO, ego sum pater tuus.

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