All Scouts have a promise, oath or law to abide. Certain ideals are common to each oath – a “Duty to God” being one. Scouting does not dictate what god a Scout must honor – that is of one’s own choosing. Faith and belief are the key elements. In the Scout Law, it is known as the 12th Point – A Scout is Reverent.
Since the 1930s, scouting has offered Square Knot awards to Scouts (and Scout leaders alike) to signify special achievements and honors. Patches are worn above the left pocket of the uniform. Scouts with a purple patch with silver ropes intertwined in a square knot have earned a religious emblem. Today, more than 35 faiths and denominations participate in the Scout religious emblem program.
Subsequent awards, earned at different ranks, are signified by special devices on the patch. The Catholic Church has established four religious emblems.
Young Scouts can earn the Light of Christ medal as they develop their personal relationship with Jesus. Older Cub Scouts work on the Parvuli Dei program as they explore God’s love for each of His uniquely created beings. Boy Scouts can earn the Ad Altare Dei and Pope Pius XII emblems as they develop a fully Christian way of life in the faith community and nurture their Christian beliefs through ministries and vocation. Eastern Catholic Church scouts can be awarded an emblem entitled Light is Life.
Whatever one’s faith or denomination, Scouting has a belief in God as a core value. This is the cornerstone for developing fine young men and women though the efforts of Scouting.
Ad Altare Dei Honorees
Scouts from Troop 712 were recently presented the Ad Altare Dei medal by Father J. Bruce Jarboe, the pastor of Holy Trinity in Glen Burnie. The scouts exemplified the 12th point of the Scout Law by studying the sacraments. Inshal Chenet, Christopher Courtney, Josh Quiles, Christopher Taylor and Karl Woodall completed projects, helped others, attended Mass and had a board of review with Monsignor Thomas L. Phillips, the Scout chaplain and pastor of St. Gabriel in Woodlawn.
The boys did this solely to broaden their knowledge of their faith and to grow in their understanding and love of Jesus Christ. Congratulations on a job well done.
Each year, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts gather for a special celebration of their duty to God. You are welcome to join scouts from all over the archdiocese in the 2009 Scout Mass to be held Sunday, March 1, at 2 p.m., at St. Philip Neri Church in Linthicum Heights.
Karl Houser is a member of the Boy Scouts of America’s Baltimore Area Council Membership Committee. Scout news can be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.