NOTRE DAME — Boy Scouts from across the diocese gathered in South Bend over the weekend to mark the culmination of weeks of study on the Catholic faith.
The youth camped out overnight on the campus of Holy Cross College Friday, and on Saturday attended Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades. After the ceremony, several dozen of them received Scouting emblems signifying that they had learned about and reflected on the riches of the Catholic faith and Tradition.
At a 4 p.m. Mass at the Grotto of Lourdes at the University of Notre Dame Saturday, Bishop Rhoades spoke about Jesus’ question to the disciples, “Who do you think that I am?” and asked the Scouts and the adults present the same question. The answer, he said, is one we give at every Mass — the Creed.
“We make that solemn profession of faith as Catholics. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Living God, is Christ,” he told worshippers.
Faith is also living what we believe, which means living in friendship, he continued.
“That’s why Scouting is so very important for you. Is Jesus your best friend? Having Jesus as our best friend means that we pray to Him, talk to Him, listen to Him, that we be faithful to attending Sunday Mass and that we have a relationship with Him every day and with the community that is His Church.”
“Faith has to be lived and practiced. And so much of what you do as Scouts has to do with living your faith. You do good work, … and true faith bears fruit in good works of charity,” Bishop Rhoades said.
After Communion, Bishop Rhoades received and blessed emblems that had been earned by the Boy Scouts present. The Catholic religious medals and emblems program, the National Catholic Committee for Girl Scouts USA, Camp Fire USA and the National Catholic Committee on Scouting reinforces family and parish efforts to teach the faith. The youth are challenged to integrate the Scouting values of duty to God, reverence and faithfulness into their everyday lives.
The emblems and awards that the students and the adults in their lives may earn are, for Boy Scouts: The Light of Christ program for grades 1 and 2; the Parvuli Dei program for grades 3-5; the Ad Altare Dei program for grades 7-12; the Pius XII program for grades 9 to college; the International Awareness Activity program for all ages; the Pope Paul VI special unit recognition; the Golden Bow Unit Recruitment Award; the Gold Medallion National Unit Recognition Award; the Bronze Pelican Medal, a diocesan adult award; and the St. George Medal, a national recognition for adults.
Girl Scouts may pursue the Family of God program for ages 7-9; the I Live My Faith program for ages 9-11; the Marian Medal program for ages 12-15; the Spirit Alive program for Senior Scouts; the International Catholic Neighbor program for all ages; the Annual Bishop’s Award, a diocesan award for outstanding troops; the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Medal, a diocesan adult award; and The St. Anne Medal, a national adult recognition.
In order to achieve the emblems, each Boy Scout studied numerous hours with an appointed counselor who guided him in the correct teachings of the Church.
Adam Dumford, an eight-year-old Cub Scout from Fort Wayne, planned and led a family prayer service as a requirement for his Light of Christ emblem. His brothers Eric, a Tiger Scout, and John, a Cub Scout, received emblems as well. Some of the older Boy Scouts, like 14-year-old Andrew Scott of Granger, planned and participated in the Saturday program as part of their requirements.
The emblems may be obtained by Scouts of any faith who are willing to undergo the study required to complete them, Theresa Dirig, chairperson of the Catholic Committee on Scouting, said. Most, of course, are Catholic, although they belong to troops that meet at both public and Catholic schools or parishes.
In the past, Scouts living on the east side of the diocese organized a campout and ceremony to confer religious Scouting emblems, and the South Bend side of the diocese conducted a separate event. But this is the second year of a challenge from Bishop Rhoades to combine their efforts and create a unified event.
Some then opted to continue camping out until the following day. Just by attending the Camporee, the Scouts could earn another patch. While on the college’s campus, they explored trails, enjoyed a campfire, heard from seminarians about the process of discerning a call to vocation, had the opportunity to join in a living rosary, and visit various stations set up on Saturday afternoon that featured other activities related to the faith.
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