Catholic Scouting in the Diocese leads and directs Scouts of all ages, encouraging them to deepen their faith and promoting various religious awards, patches, emblems and medals the youth can receive through programs throughout the year.
On Sunday, April 23, Scouts, Scout leaders and their family members gathered at St. Catherine Labouré Church in Harrisburg for the Scout Recognition Mass. Celebrated by Bishop Ronald Gainer, the Mass drew individual Scouts and troops from around the Diocese, shining a light on their journey, fellowship, mission and participation.
At the conclusion of the Mass, Scouts were honored during a religious medals recognition ceremony. Girl Scout, American Heritage Girls, Camp Fire girls and Boy Scouts were recognized for the completion of various patch programs, and the bishop presented several religious emblems and awards to those who have completed specific programs.
Recognition was given to Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Camp Fire girls who earned:
- The St. Katharine Drexel, St. Joan of Arc, Ruth & Naomi, Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Juan Diego, and Our Lady of Fatima patches
- Angel on My Shoulder emblem – which shows girls in K-2 how God has given them a special protector who helps them do the right thing
- Child of Mary emblem – a program for girls in grades 4-6 that helps them realize how Mary has a special place in her heart for youth
- The Holy Family emblem – a program for girls in grades 4-6 that promotes advancement of knowledge about their faith and awareness of God’s presence in their lives, home and community
- Family of God national award – which helps girls in second and third grade grow as members of their family and parish
- I Live My Faith national award – which helps girls in grades 4-6 appreciate the place God and religion have in their lives
- Mary, the First Disciple national award – which promotes the understanding of Mary as a model of openness and spirituality for girls in grades 7-10
Recognition was given to Boy Scouts who earned the following patches and awards:
- Light of Christ – a national Cub Scout award that helps Scouts develop a personal relationship with Jesus
- Parvuli Dei – a national Cub Scout award that assists Scouts in discovering the presence of God in their lives and to develop a positive self-image through various contributions made to the group or community
- Ad Altare Dei – a national Boy Scout award that helps Scouts develop a fully Christian way of life, based on the Sacraments
- Pope Pius XII – a national Boy Scout and Venturing program that helps Scouts and Crew Members examine how being a Christian affects daily life
The Mass on April 23 was the first Diocesan-wide Mass for the Scouts since 2019. It was concelebrated by Father James Lease, pastor, and Father Steven Arena, parochial vicar, of St. Catherines’, and by Father Keith Carroll, Scout Chaplain for the Diocese.
In his homily, Bishop Gainer congratulated the Scouts on their awards, and expressed his gratitude that so many of them had taken the time and made the effort to earn them. “It is a way of deepening your faith, your understand of the faith, saints of the Church, and things about the Church, Our Lord and the Blessed Mother,” he said.
“I hope that all you have done do obtain these religious emblems and all you have learned will lead you not just to know the events and facts, but to encounter Jesus, to have that relationship with Him that changes our lives and sustains our lives – so that for the rest of your lives, you will know that He is walking with you,” Bishop Gainer told the Scouts.
In the Diocese of Harrisburg, the Secretariat for Catholic Life and Evangelization supports Catholic Scouting for both Scouts BSA and Girl Scouts by working with the Diocesan Catholic Committees on Scouting. Visit this link to learn more.
(Photos by Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness.)
By Jen Reed, The Catholic Witness