January 30, 2013
Light sabers, togas, sumo wrestlers and glow sticks took over the gymnasium at St. Mary’s Central High school in Bismarck on Jan. 30 as part of the annual Know Your Faith state competition.
The contest, which occurs during the heart of Catholic Schools Week, pits the four Catholic high schools in North Dakota (Bismarck St. Mary’s, Dickinson Trinity, Minot Ryan and Fargo Shanley) against each other in the ultimate Catholic trivia challenge.
“In order to love God, we have to know God. And in order to know God, we have to know our faith,” said the Rev. Charles LaCroix, chaplain of Fargo Shanley High School. “This Know Your Faith contest is epic and so necessary because we have to know our faith (this great gift that God has given us) so that we can love God more and serve him more.”
“We want to build community,” the Rev. Joshua Waltz, chaplain of SMCHS said. “The early Christians, the biggest thing they had was a faith community; that’s what gave them the strength to do what they needed to do. And so we do events like this to draw our kids closer together.”
The day began with grand entrances set to music and lights by each school. Three contestants from each school were then wheeled into the gym in a Roman chariot. Throughout the event they were faced with questions ranging from “The oldest pope lived to the age of 93; what was his name?” to “What were the three objects that were placed in the Ark of the Covenant by Moses?”
Between questions, the students joined for spontaneous dance raves at the middle of the gym to popular songs like “Party in the USA” and “Call Me Maybe.” Other times, select students competed in rowdy sumo-wrestling challenges with a member of an opposing school. The schools’ four chaplains (LaCroix, Waltz, the Rev. Jadyn Nelson and the Rev. Kregg Hochhalter) also had a dance-off to “We No Speak Americano” and Waltz performed lead vocals while the Rev. Nick Schneider covered lead guitar in their own rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
“I think so often in the modern culture we have this ‘you have to be down, you have to be glum, you have to be pious [attitude],’ but Christianity is about joy, and these kids experienced a lot of joy today,” Waltz said.
When the smoke cleared (literally, due to the heavy use of fog machines), Fargo Shanley emerged as the winner with Dickinson Trinity a close second. This year marked Shanley’s first time competing in the state contest; SMCHS had won the title every year since the event began four years ago.
“It’s okay to let it go,” Waltz said of surrendering the championship. “To keep a tradition going, you’ve got to have fresh competition, fresh blood, and I’m really happy for [Shanley].”
“We congratulate St. Mary’s on their many years of holding the title and we certainly thank them for hosting this event every year,” LaCroix commented. “We’re very humble that we now have the title and we hope to be deserving and honorable champions.”
LaCroix finished with a fitting message.
“Get out there and read your Catechism,” he said.
For video highlights of the competition, visit www.bismarckdiocese.com/dakota-catholic-action/.