Scouting In The Catholic Community

Printer-Friendly Version

Background

  • The Catholic Church, composed of churches in union with Rome and Pope Benedict XVI, is the largest Christian denomination in the world, encompassing over half of all Christians or one sixth of the world’s population.
  • The Catholic Church is the largest denomination in the United States, representing 22 percent of the population. (Source: U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, Pew Forum)
    • 20.8 percent of the population is Roman Catholic
    • 1.2 percent of Americans belong to Eastern Rite Catholic churches
  • Approximately 68.5 million people are affiliated with the Catholic Church in the United States.
    (Source: Yearbook of American Churches)
    • 65 percent are white (non-Hispanic)
    • 29 percent are Hispanic
    • 2 percent are black (non-Hispanic)
    • 2 percent are Asian
    • 2 percent are of other or mixed ethnicities
  • The latest data from the 2009 Official Catholic Directory, or Kennedy Directory, indicates that there are:
    • 195 archdioceses (archeparchies) and dioceses (eparchies)
    • 2,119,341 students enrolled in 7,474 Catholic and private schools:
      • 5,889 Catholic elementary schools with 1,507,618 students.
      • 1,205 Catholic high schools with 611,723 students
  • According to 2010 year-end Boy Scouts of America membership information, there are:
    • 180,286 Cub Scouts in 4,292 packs
    • 97,625 Boy Scouts in 3,684 troops
    • 8,822 Venturers in 819 crews

Role of Scouting in the Catholic Church

  • The National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) exists to ensure the constructive use of the BSA program as a viable form of youth ministry with the Catholic youth of our nation. The NCCS is a church committee of concerned Catholic laity and clergy who act as advisors to the Boy Scouts of America, and relate to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) through its NCCS Bishop Liaison. The NCCS carries out the official Plan of Organization, which was first approved in 1934 and was revised in 1989.
  • The NCCS addresses this mission by:
    • Encouraging the formation and support of Catholic-chartered units.
    • Supporting diocesan committees of Catholic Scouting.
    • Offering Catholic programs complementary to BSA programs, and providing formation and activity training for leaders and youth.
    • Holding a national conference for all members of the diocesan Catholic committees, as well as regional meetings and training.
    • Sponsoring a weeklong training course at the Philmont Training Center each year for diocesan personnel entrusted with the responsibilities of operating the committee. Also, with the support of the Constantinian Order of St. George, sponsoring a biennial St. George trek in Philmont, where clergy and laity hike the back country with more than 70 Scouts and Venturers, who become better equipped to promote and support Catholic Scouting in their communities while considering possible vocations of service within the church.
    • Each archdiocese (archeparchy) and diocese (eparchy) has a Catholic committee on Scouting, with more than 300 subcommittees in local BSA councils.
    • The NCCS provides support through its diocese (eparchy) committees using resources provided by its national standing committees, including: Membership, Religious Emblems, Religious Activities, Vocations, International, Chaplains, Marketing, and Public Relations (which maintains its Web site, www.NCCS-BSA.org, as well as its quarterly newsletter, The Bridge, and frequent e-mail distributions).
    • Representing all Roman Catholic institutions with charter relationships to Scouting to the USCCB and the BSA National Council. The NCCS represents the BSA to the USCCB, and all Roman Catholic institutions (dioceses, Knights of Columbus, Serra International, parochial schools, etc.) to the BSA.

Scouting Youth and Adult Recognitions

  • According to the 2009-2010 NCCS Annual Report, religious emblems have been earned and awarded in 2010 to:
    • 18,016 Cub Scouts
    • 2,778 Boy Scouts
    • 897 Venturers
    • 187 adults

Cub Scout Emblems

Light of Christ




About the emblem

The purpose is to help the Cub Scout develop a personal relationship with Jesus. With parents’ active assistance and participation in this program, it is hoped that the Cub will come to see Jesus as a real person and his friend.

Program objectives

  • To support the role of the parents as the primary catechists of their children.
  • To have the Cub Scout identify Jesus as a real person and as his friend.
  • To foster early family religious involvement.
  • To be a stepping stone toward Parvuli Dei and the other religious emblems, when the parents are involved.
  • To serve as a catalyst to draw the parents into a deeper involvement with the church through the child.

Eligibility

  • Registered 6- and 7-year-old (Tiger or Wolf) Cub Scout of Catholic faith.

Requirements

  • Each Cub Scout has his own activity book.
  • The book is designed for the Cub Scout and his parent or guardian to work on together.
  • Diocesan and BSA Youth Protection policies must be followed.

Parvuli Dei




About the emblem

The purpose of the Parvuli Dei (Children of God) emblem is to help young boys explore a wide range of activities in order to discover the presence of God in their daily lives as members of their families and parishes, and also to develop a good, positive self-image through the contributions they can make to the group or community.

Program objectives

  • To help the Cub Scout develop an awareness of God’s love for each one of His special, uniquely created beings.
  • To help the Cub Scout become aware of and understand his identity as an important member of his family, his community, and as a member of the family of God.
  • To continue to develop an awareness of members of the parish and the body of Christ.
  • To aid the Cub Scout in his awareness of the responsibilities that grow out of God’s love for us.

Eligibility

  • Registered 8- to 10-year-old (Bear or Webelos) Cub Scout of Catholic faith.

Requirements

  • Each Cub Scout has his own activity book.
  • The book is designed for Cub Scout and his parent or guardian to work on together.
  • The Cub Scout will be required to make a banner as part of the requirements.
  • Diocesan and BSA Youth Protection policies must be followed.

Boy Scout and Venturer Emblems

Ad Altare Dei




About the emblem

The purpose of the Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) program is to help Catholic Boy Scouts of the Roman Rite develop a fully Christian way of life in the faith community. The program is organized in chapters based on the seven Sacraments. The seven Sacraments are a primary means toward spiritual growth.

Program objectives

  • The most important aspect of the program is that the Scout grows in his spiritual experience of his relationship to God and the church.

Eligibility

  • Registered Boy Scout of Catholic faith.
  • Designed for 13- to 14-year-old Scouts, but older boys may use the program.
  • Active member of the troop for six months.
  • Completed sixth grade before starting the program.

Requirements

  • Each Scout must have his own activity book. The book is designed for the youth to work on the with the guidance of a counselor.
  • The program is designed to be completed in six to eight months.
  • The use of a Catholic Bible is required for this program. You will need to have one to use.
  • Regular participation in Sunday worship.
  • Diocesan and BSA Youth Protection policies must be followed.
  • Complete the requirements in the Ad Altare Dei Scout Manual.
  • Successfully complete an Ad Altare Dei Board of Review.
  • A trained religious emblem coordinator/counselor/moderator is required to work on religious emblems. Contact your Diocesan Catholic Committee.

Light Is Life




About the emblem

  • The Light Is Life is a program developed for Scouts of the Eastern Rite CatholicChurches. Light Is Life respects the cultural and ritual differences among the various Eastern Catholic Churches.
  • The overall goal of the Light Is Life religious emblem program is to bring about in the Scout, through his Eastern Catholic Scouting experience, a deeper awareness of his share in faith-life. Then going forth, he will witness this life through maturity in communal worship and in Christian formation of his world.
  • This program is to be used by the Eastern Catholic Scouts rather than the Ad Altare Dei program. It is not appropriate to work on both programs.

Program objectives

  • The most important aspect of the program is that the Scout grows in his spiritual experience of his relationship to God and the Church.

Eligibility

  • Registered Boy Scout of one of the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches.
  • Designed for 12- to 13-year-old Scouts, but older or younger Scouts may use this program. Must be completed by the youth’s 18th birthday. Scouts in an Eastern Rite Catholic Church are eligible.

Requirements

  • Each Scout must have his own activity book. The book is designed for the youth to work on with the guidance of a counselor.
  • The program is designed to be completed in 12 months.
  • The use of a Catholic Bible is required for this program.
  • Diocesan and BSA Youth Protection policies must be followed.
  • A trained religious emblems coordinator/counselor is required to work on religious emblems. Contact your Eparchial Catholic Committee.

Pope Pius XII




About the emblem

  • Pope Pius XII is Catholic Scouting’s church-related ministries and vocation program.
  • The program deals with different life choices (single, married, religious, ordained), occupations, and ministries in the church as calls from God.
  • It includes youth-led discussions on current issues facing the church and society, which are normally included as part of a Pius XII retreat or day of recollection.

Eligibility

  • Registered Venture Crew Member or Boy Scout of Catholic faith.
  • Designed for age 15- to 16-year-olds, but all registered Venturers (male or female before their 21st birthday) and all registered Boy Scouts (in high school, before their 18th birthday) are eligible.

Requirements

  • Each Venture Crew Member and Scout must have their own activity book. The program should be run by the candidates themselves; the adult serves as a moderator.
  • Ideal group size is four to 12 youth, but the course may be run with smaller groups.
  • A number of interviews and an investigation of a controversial issue facing the church or society are integral to the program.
  • A retreat experience, ideally centered on the Pius XII program itself and a ministries service project are required.
  • The program is designed to be completed in nine to 12 sessions. As the youth are older, two-hour sessions seem to work well, and flexibility is often required in scheduling sessions and interview feedback.
  • Successfully complete a Pope Pius XII Board of Review.
  • Diocesan and BSA Youth Protection policies must be followed.
  • A trained religious emblems coordinator/counselor/moderator is required to work on religious emblems. Contact your Diocesan Catholic Committee.

Adult emblems

St. George




About this Recognition

  • The National Catholic Committee on Scouting, acting through the local diocese or eparchy, may award the St. George emblem to members of the laity and clergy,Scouters and non-Scouters alike, who have made significant and outstanding contributions to the spiritual development of Catholic youth through Scouting.
  • The recipients of the emblem are to be sought after and selected by the active committee of the (arch)diocese/eparchy. This committee is to be newly-appointed each year by the diocesan Scout chaplain or chairperson.
  • Nomination forms should give a detailed description of how the nominee provides outstanding contribution to the spiritual development of Catholic youth through Scouting in the Catholic Church. It is improper to nominate oneself or one’s spouse.
  • General Scouting achievements do not qualify a person to receive the St. George. The Boy Scouts ofAmerica has district, council, regional, and national awards for such recognition.

Purpose

  • The St. George emblem is the National Catholic Committee on Scouting emblem awarded by a(n)(arch)diocese/eparchy.
  • The purpose of the St. George Emblem is to recognize the recipient’s outstanding contribution to the spiritual development of Catholic youth in the program of the Boy Scouts of America.

Eligiblity

  • Any adult who is working in the Scouting program.
  • May be given to clergy, religious laity, or Scouters of other faiths.
  • A Scouter does not earn the St. George emblem but is recommended by application to a board of review by another person.

Guidelines for nomination and selection

  • Promoting the religious emblems programs for Catholic youth or serving as a counselor, moderator, or coordinator. Encouraging non-Catholic youth to participate in the religious emblems programs of their own faiths.
  • Giving notable service in promoting Catholic activities and service projects for the church and being willing to serve on committees for those purposes.
  • Actively participating in and promoting Scout retreats and days of recollection.
  • Giving notable service in organizing and maintaining Catholic-chartered Scouting units, including multiple units where needed.
  • Giving notable service in bringing the Catholic program to those youth not in Catholic-chartered Scouting units.
  • Using fully one’s general Scouter training as well as “Scouter Development” to provide an outstanding Catholic Scouting program for youth.
  • Arranging opportunities for Mass and other Catholic worship services at Camporees and summer camps. These must be consistent with the documents of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.Providing also for the spiritual needs of non-Catholic Scouts.
  • Encouraging appropriate ecumenism and Catholic leadership within the various Catholic-charteredScouting units.
  • Using the Catholic press and other communications media to create a better understanding of the aims and ideals of Scouting as an apostolate to youth.
  • Educating clergy and laity about Scouting as a youth apostolate in the Catholic Church.
  • Giving leadership in promoting Scouting for all youths regardless of race or creed. Helping organize Scouting units for minority and disadvantaged youth.

Organization Information

  • For more information and support for new or existing Catholic sponsored units, or for programs useful to Catholics in non-Catholic sponsored units, contact your local Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting for assistance. Contact information is available at the NCCS Web site at www.nccs-bsa.org.
  • The NCCS Web site contains a wealth of materials, including downloadable documents on Catholic Scouting, and numerous programs and activities developed or available through NCCS. Promotional materials are also available at www.nccs-bsa.org.

Updated March 2011

 

Follow

  RSS Feed Podcast Facebook Twitter YouTube

 

Scouts in the News

More...