March 9, 2011 // Uncategorized

Boy Scouts awarded for building faith

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades blesses religious awards before they are given out during a diocesan Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Warsaw Sunday. Looking on is Jim Fitzpatrick, mster of ceremonies, and Boy Scout Andrew Schenkel of St. Joseph Church in Fort Wayne.

WARSAW — As Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades talked about wise men building their homes on solid rock in his homily, Boy Scouts from across the diocese received religious awards for building their faith Sunday. Approximately 60 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, family members, friends and Scout leaders attended a diocesan Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Warsaw where religious awards were given.

“When I was a Boy Scout, I got these awards too,” Rhoades told the group. “… I congratulate all the Scouts (on receiving their awards).”

Four different awards were given out to various ages of Scouts, including the Light of Christ, Parvuli Dei, Ad Altare Dei and Pope Pius XII.
After the Mass, Bishop Rhoades said he was happy to be involved in a diocesan awards ceremony.

“For me, it’s important to present these religious emblems to our Scouts,” Bishop Rhoades said. “I encourage all of them to work on these Catholic awards. It’s good for their growth and knowledge in faith.
“I congratulate them for their hard work. Catholic Scouting is a wonderful program; I’d like to support it to the best of my ability (and honor them).”

Theresa Dirig, a Scout leader at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in Fort Wayne for about 18 years and chair of the Catholic Committee on Scouting, said there had not been a diocesan-wide Mass with Scouting awards handed out for at least 15 years.

“When I met with the bishop in September … he wanted to be involved with (Scouting) and encourage them,” she said. “Scouting doesn’t always get attention like sports. All the boys here will remember this for the rest of their lives.

We are encouraging them to get involved in their faith. The Pope Pius XII award helps them to understand the balance of life and faith and life issues. They don’t get that everywhere.”

The 25 Boy Scouts attending the Mass were happy to receive their awards with the bishop present.

“It means a lot,” said Tyler Liponoga, 18, of St. Thomas Church in Elkhart. “… too much to put to words.”

The son of Jim and Terri Liponoga said he completed about six hours of book work and cleaned an Elkhart conservation club one weekend with friends to earn the Pope Pius XII award, which explores vocations and is given to Scouts 15 years old and older.

“I hope my son will be a better Catholic and Christian,” his father said after the Mass. “(Being a good Catholic) is more than just in words but deeds.”
His mother also was happy.

“We’re really proud of him,” she said.

Nick Schenkel, 18, of St. Joseph Church in Fort Wayne received the Ad Altare Dei award, which is given to 13- and 14-year-old Scouts and requires study of the sacraments.

“It was nice (to receive the award),” the son of Matt and Susan Schenkel said. “It was nice being recognized for giving a little extra effort to demonstrate your faith.”
Schenkel’s father was equally pleased.

“We’re very proud our kids went through the time it takes (to earn the award),” he said. “It’s not a requirement for an Eagle Scout award. It’s just something they wanted to do and that’s great.”
Andrew Schenkel also received the Ad Altare Dei award Sunday.

Matt Krach, 14, of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Fort Wayne received the Ad Altare Dei award as well.

“(Working toward this award) really helped me strengthen my faith and get closer to God,” the son of Maria and Dan Krach said. “It’s helped me to try harder … and gave me a better faith because I understand why we do the things we do. For example, why the host is unleavened bread and the wine is symbolic for the blood the lamb. Jesus is the lamb of God … and how this compares to the Passover feast.”

About 41 Boy Scouts had been invited Sunday. However, not all Boy and Girl Scouts were present as some had not been informed of the event. Dirig said any Catholic Scout interested in working towards these awards can contact her at [email protected].

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