180 local Scouts earn Catholic religious emblems
By Julie Filby
Photo by James Baca/DCR
While performing their duty to God, country and others over the course of the school year, 180 Scouts in the Denver Archdiocese earned Catholic religious emblems from the archdiocese’s Catholic Committee on Scouting. Organizations participating were Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls and Venture Scouts, as well as adult leaders.
“Faith-based groups like Catholic schools and churches can put a stronger exclamation point on ‘duty to God’ since there are few secular constraints,” Jon Elliott, chairman for the Denver-Area Catholic Committee on Scouting, told the Denver Catholic Register. “Many youth are introduced to the concept of God and the notion of attending Sunday services through their scouting programs.”
Many of the Scouts who earned awards attended an annual recognition Mass and reception May 5 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Northglenn, where they received certificates from the committee and rosaries from the Knights of Columbus. Celebrant Father Brian Larkin, parochial vicar, commended the Scouts during his homily and related the motto, “Be prepared,” to their spiritual lives.
“We want to be prepared,” he said. “God has a plan for your life … and you need to be prepared for that plan because someday, he’s going to give you your ‘marching orders.’”
While Bishop James Conley, apostolic administrator for the archdiocese, was unable to attend as he was at the Vatican for his ad limina visit with Pope Benedict XVI, he sent a letter of congratulations that was read by Father Larkin.
“I commend each of you for your pursuit of these awards as they are a demonstration of commitment to the Scout’s duty to God,” Bishop Conley wrote. “The awards are not an end of the faith journey, but a beginning of a more faith-filled education built on this strong foundation.”
He encouraged them to continue pursuing other Catholic scouting awards.
Awards and emblems earned included: 111 Cub Scouts received Light of Christ and Parvuli Dei (Children of God), 15 Boy Scouts earned Ad Altari Dei (To the Altar of God), three Venture Scouts (boys and girls age 14-21) received Pope Pius XII awards, 24 Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls earned Family of God, 15 Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls earned I Live My Faith, one Girl Scout received the Marian Award, and one Scout earned a St. Tarcisius Award.
Troop 600 from Shrine of St. Anne Parish in Arvada received the National Catholic Quality Unit Award-Pope Paul VI.
Ten adult leaders were recognized for their contribution to the faith formation of Scouts including Father Piotr Mozdyniewicz, pastor of Shrine of St. Anne, who received a Bronze Pelican Award. It is the fourth consecutive year a priest has been honored.
To earn awards, Scouts engaged in service projects such as making sandwiches for Samaritan House, completed catechesis in workbooks, led family faith activities, conducted interviews with adults about vocation, attended liturgical celebrations, studied the sacraments, and made boxes to hold their daily prayer intentions.
“Religious emblems are important because they help many youth, some who may not be otherwise catechized, talk with their family about their belief in God,” said Elliott. “The program provides a structured mechanism for that dialogue.”
Since the Catholic Committee on Scouting was reactivated in the archdiocese in 2007 by Elliott and Jay Zolitor, archdiocesan chair, the number of Scouts earning religious awards has climbed steadily. At St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial, 79 Scouts overall—32 Boy Scouts and 47 Girl Scouts—were awarded religious emblems, a number believed to be a record for the parish.
For more information on the Catholic Committee on Scouting visit www.archden-dccs.org.