National Spelling Bee Champ: When Nervous, ‘I Said a Prayer to God,’ Held ‘The Cross in My Hand’

National Spelling Bee Champ: When Nervous, ‘I Said a Prayer to God,’ Held ‘The Cross in My Hand’ By Liam Sigler for CNS News

Thirteen-year-old Christopher Serrao, who shared a trophy and a $50,000 award with seven other contestants in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee, credited his victory to his faith and the “power of prayers.” He added that when the contest got tough and he was nervous, he prayed, held a cross in his hand, and even wore a rosary around his neck.

“When I was nervous, I said a prayer to God and would hold the cross in my hand,” Christopher told The Catholic Spirit, the newspaper of the Diocese of Metuchen, as reported by Crux.

“I also wore a rosary around my neck,” he said.

Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee winners, 2019.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Christopher is a resident of Whitehouse Station, New Jersey, and a member of the town’s Our Lady of Lourdes Parish. He said he was inspired by his older sister to devote himself to studying lingual roots and vocabulary for hours upon hours each day, but that his Catholic faith was what ultimately pulled him through.

Serrao said that his pastor “told the congregation that I was in the contest and had everyone pray for me.”

Searrao added that his daily routine on competition days began with Mass at 8:00 a.m., which helped him to prepare for his spelling contests in a calm and spiritual state of mind.

“My win is a reaffirmation of the power of prayers,” said Serrao, as reported by Crux. “When the odds were against me, I knew faith in Jesus and prayers would help me overcome any obstacle.”

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