Religious emblems promoted as Scouting anniversary nears

WITH THE 100th anniversary of the incorporation of the Boy Scouts of America rapidly approaching, Scouting officials are encouraging young people across central Illinois to get involved in one of the religious emblem programs designed to deepen their faith.

The awards are traditionally given on Scout Sunday, which will be observed with a Mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 14, 2010.

“I think it is important that we make every effort to get Scouts and Scouters to come to this Mass, even if they are not receiving religious awards,” according to Father Glenn Harris, pastor of St. Edward’s Parish in Chillicothe and chaplain of the Diocese of Peoria Catholic Committee on Scouting (DCCS).

“We need to gather and thank God for the 100 years that Scouting has made a difference in the many boys of our country of various faiths, and to pray that God would protect and preserve Scouting for the next 100 years,” he said in a recent e-mail to Catholic Scouters.

The anniversary of Scouting has particular significance in the Diocese of Peoria, since the man who incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8, 1910, was from Ottawa, Father Harris told The Catholic Post.

In addition to promoting the church’s involvement, DCCS officials are using the centennial celebration to reinvigorate the religious emblem program and to work with the Girl Scouts and other youth organization where there is common ground, Father Harris, said.

THERE ARE four emblem programs for the Boy Scouts of America. With the help of a workbook, the Scout may achieve each emblem with the help of his family or with a group of other Scouts. They are:

The Light of Christ — Designed for Scouts with the rank of Wolf or Bear (ages 7-9), it complements catechetical formation for the sacraments of reconciliation and First Communion.

Parvuli Dei (Family of God) — This emblem is for Webelos (ages 10-12) and highlights the many ways the young people are family with Christ and the church.

Ad Altare Dei (At the Altar of God) — This program is for Boy Scouts who have completed the sixth grade and complements sacramental preparation for the sacrament of confirmation. It also helps the Scout integrate the sacraments into his life and emphasize service to the church.

Pope Pius XII — For Boy Scouts of high school age, this emblem explores the meaning of vocation in one’s life.

CATHOLIC religious recognition programs administered by the National Catholic Committee for Girl Scouts and Camp Fire are made available under the auspices of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.
Designed to support the catechetical efforts in the girls’ parishes and schools, they include:

Family of God — This program is for girls in first grade through third grade and seeks to help them understand how they are part of their family at home and God’s family.

I Live my Faith — Also a workbook program, it is for girls in fourth grade through sixth grade. It is designed to help youth appreciate more fully the place of God and faith in their daily lives.

Mary, the First Disciple — A program written for young Catholics in grades seven through 10, it will introduce them to Mary in Scripture and allow them to journey through her life. It takes several months to complete, according to DCCS officials.

Spirit Alive — Designed for students in high school, this program assists young women in discovering how the Holy Spirit moves in their lives and calls them to service in the church.

THE COST for workbooks is $3 to $5, depending on the program. Medals and patches also vary in price, depending on the program.

For more information about the programs, ordering workbooks, or the application process for the emblems, go the Web site for the Diocese of Peoria’s Catholic Committee on Scouting, www.peoria-dccs.org, and click on the links for either Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts and then Youth Emblems.

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