The Washington Times - April 27, 2011, 12:39PM

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell reminisced Wednesday about growing up Catholic.

“My dad was a Boston Irish Catholic who believed in walking tall, carrying a big stick and a big belt,” Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, said at the seventh annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington.

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Mr. McDonnell also talked about how his father taught him a lot about life, discipline and faith.

The theme for this year’s event, at the Marriott Wardman Park hotel, was celebrating the beatification ceremony of former Pope John Paul II, scheduled to take place on Sunday in Rome.

The governor recalled “the magic of the first communion” and “the joy of picking out another name” for confirmation. He also remembered messing up when, as an altar boy, he helped with the annual preparation of holy water and didn’t know how to proceed after the water had been blessed and consecrated.

“My fellow altar boy and I had to admit we had just poured it completely down the drain because we didn’t know what the heck we were supposed to do with it,” Mr. McDonnell said.