Proud of Scouts, Bishop Jenky says they build up church, community, character

Bishop Jenky takes delight in the Wolf Scouts and Tiger Scouts gathered around him as they look at the religious emblems they had just received from him at the Diocesan Scout Mass on Feb. 16 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

Jesus calls every person on his “team” to love God with their whole heart, mind, strength and soul, and their neighbor as themselves, and Scouting is a good way to do just that, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, told those who attended the annual Diocesan Scout Mass on Feb. 16.

Beaming with pride are Daisy Scouts Adelaide Heaton, Molly Mester and Hannah Okrzesik of Troop 1043, Corpus Christi School, Bloomington. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

“Jesus says if we want to be on his team, we cannot be on the sidelines giving a little. We have to try to give everything we have,” Bishop Jenky told those gathered at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria. “And indeed, if we do try, we’ll know blessings in this life. . . . We’ll be catching sight of the kingdom of heaven.”

The selfless giving Scouting calls for builds up the church and community, even as it builds the character of everyone it touches, he said, thanking the young people and their families for doing what they do.

“But remember, Scouting, as important as it is, is just a beginning of a life lived for God, lived for neighbor, lived for values that last forever,” Bishop Jenky said.

As he greeted them that morning, the bishop said he was proud of them and that was evident in the joy on his face as he handed religious emblems and awards to nearly 40 youth involved in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts after Communion. Another 50, including members of American Heritage Girls troops, had been recognized for their work over the last year at Masses in their home parishes. (See the list here.)


For their significant contributions to Catholic Scouting, five adults received the Bronze Pelican, including Karen Zettler and Peter Zettler of St. Jude in Peoria, Joanette Snider of Christ the King in Moline, and Michael Maynard of Sacred Heart in Moline. Dr. Linda Atherton, chair of the Diocese of Peoria’s Catholic Committee on Scouting, also called forward Phillip Lee, Bishop Jenky’s master of ceremonies, to receive the Bronze Pelican for his help in making certain the annual liturgies always run without a hitch.

Scout leaders and supporters who were honored include (from left) Michael Maynard, Jennifer DeWitt, Phillip Lee, Joanette Snider, Karen and Peter Zettler, and Mark Hilliard. (The Catholic Post/Jennifer Willems)

The St. George emblem, given in recognition for years of support and contributions to Catholic youth ministry, was presented to Mark Hilliard of St. Mary of the Woods in Princeville and Jennifer DeWitt of Sacred Heart in Moline.

In addition, the Pope Paul VI National Catholic Unit Excellence Award was earned by five Boy Scout packs and five troops around the diocese.

Atherton didn’t leave out Bishop Jenky. She told him that the Diocese of Peoria had again received the Quality Diocese Award from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting.

To receive the award, the diocese must have a Catholic Committee on Scouting that meet regularly, promotes religious emblems and vocations programs, and has the support of the bishop, Atherton told The Catholic Post.

After Mass, Bishop Jenky remained in the sanctuary for photos. Then the Scouts and their leaders and families were invited to a reception with light refreshments at the nearby Spalding Pastoral Center.

For more on the value of Scouting, the importance of the religious emblems and awards, and why Scouting must remain strong during the national “restructuring,” see the related story here.

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