February 17, 2006

Growing in faith: Hundreds of archdiocesan Scouts receive religious awards

By Mike Krokos

Boy Scouts Kevin Owens and Robert Stroude are on journeys to grow in their faith.

Girl Scouts Lauren Hummel and Sarah Siertle count themselves among those seeking to get closer to God as well.

The four youths from Indianapolis were among the more than 300 Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Brownies, Cub Scouts, Webelos and Scouting leaders honored on Feb. 12 for their dedication to the Catholic faith at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis. (Click here for more photos)

“I commend you and congratulate you for taking your faith so seriously,” Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein said at the beginning of the annual religious emblems ceremony.

Kevin, 14, a member of St. Matthew Parish in Indianapolis, and Robert, 17, a member of St. Therese of the Infant Jesus (Little Flower) Parish in Indianapolis, received Ad Altare Dei (“to the altar of God”) awards.

Scouting, Robert said, “helps me grow in faith and brings me closer to God.”

Lauren, 14, and Sarah, 13, members of St. Lawrence Parish in Indianapolis, were awarded Marian medals.

“We learned about Mary, what she went through and the courage she had,” Sarah said.

They said their Girl Scout troop made a pilgrimage to Our Lady of the Snows Shrine in Belleville, Ill., as part of their formation.

The awards program included music, Scripture readings and a homily by Father Thomas Schliessmann, archdiocesan chaplain of Scouts and pastor of St. Rose of Lima Parish in Franklin and Holy Trinity Parish in Edinburgh.

Father Schliessmann told the Scouts that the ceremony marked something, specifically, that they keep trying to grow in their faith. He said two commandments—love your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself—can be directly correlated with Scouting.

“Love one another as I have loved you. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It has to do with loving God and loving our neighbor,” Father Schliessmann said.

“One of the great things about Scouting is it reminds us [that] we have a duty to God,” he added.

To make his point, Father Schliessmann asked the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts in attendance to recite their oaths. One by one, each group did.

The oaths, he said, show a commitment to God and country, “or as Jesus would say, ‘to love God and country.’

“The oaths remind us every day to draw closer to God and to serve each other,” Father Schliessmann said.

Archbishop Buechlein, who blessed the religious emblems and presented them to the Scouts, encouraged the youth to consider religious vocations.

“We need some good, consecrated sisters. We need young guys who can serve as deacons, and especially to become priests,” he said.

“Continue to keep the faith. Continue to grow in the faith,” Archbishop Buechlein told the young people. †


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