TRAVERSE CITY — Which came first, the Bible or the Catholic Church? Which book of the New Testament is categorized as a book of history? What are the names of the heavenly angels?
They were among hundreds of questions put to sixth-graders at the second annual Diocese of Gaylord Catholic Schools Regional Catechism Bee.
The event was held April 18 at St. Mary Cathedral in Gaylord and drew 18 students representing the region’s Catholic schools. All were winners of local bees hosted by their schools.
After an hour and a half of quizzing, Wade Gerberding of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Middle School in Traverse City finished in second place.
“When it was down to two, it was me and this girl (winner Chelewynn Shuart from East Tawas) for 15 minutes,” said Gerberding, 12. “The question I missed was, ‘What disposes us to respect the rights of others?” (The answer: justice.)
Gerberding won a $500 tuition credit for seventh grade at the school, along with a catechism board game and a copy of the Youth Catechism of the Catholic Church, from which a few of the questions were gleaned.
Other questions were taken directly from the catechism, said Charles Taylor, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese, master of ceremonies and timekeeper for the event. All were reviewed by one of the diocese’s seminarians in Rome, a theologist and canon lawyer.
“I think the kids at that age are capable of a lot more than people give them credit for,” Taylor said. “We were scared because we were running out of questions. We got right down to the end.”
The competition fell during the Year of Faith, which began Oct. 11, 2012. That’s when, according to the dictate of Pope Benedict XVI, Catholics are to study and reflect on the documents of Vatican II and the catechism in order to deepen their knowledge of the faith.