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Scouts receive religious emblems

by Timothy Hatch, Correspondent
May 1, 2013

Scouts and their families gathered in Corpus Christi Cathedral to receive religious emblems on April 14.
Timothy Hatch for South Texas Catholic
Nearly 90 Boy and Girl Scouts and adult volunteers gathered with their families at Corpus Christi Cathedral on April 14 to receive their religious emblems and scouting awards for the past year.  These emblems are awarded to those who demonstrated outstanding moral example in their units and in the community as well as in leadership.  

These individuals have contributed to the spiritual development of others in the Boy Scouts of America program in communities of the Diocese of Corpus Christi.  Bishop Michael Mulvey began the ceremony with the Liturgy of the Word.  

In his homily, the bishop reflected on the development of conscience and how the role of scouting plays in reinforcing the formation of conscience that parents first provide at home for their children.  He elaborated on the First Reading where Peter and the Apostles resist when they are asked to stop preaching about Jesus by the Sanhedrin.

“What this says to us is that Peter used his conscience.  It’s better to be truthful to God than to lie.  I say that today on this day where you receive these awards which you have been working toward because it’s very important for all of us in the Church, but in a special way, the scouts, as you try to live a life of service and honor, as you live the life of a good citizen,” Bishop Mulvey said.

Bishop Mulvey spoke on the two-part identity of Catholic scouting, first encountering the person of Jesus Christ and second, recognizing that the Church teaches the true teachings of Jesus today and guides us like a mother and father in forming our consciences.  Bishop Mulvey encouraged each scout to take some quiet time out and pray so that they can recognize Jesus like Peter, who first recognized Him from afar on shore in the Gospel reading.  Then, like Peter who told Jesus that he loved Him three times, answer that same question which Jesus asks each and every person by continuing to live by the values that earned them the awards they were receiving.

“When we answer to God and mean it, and if our hearts and minds are directed to Jesus Christ, we can say in front of the crowds on this earth that it is better to obey God than man,” Bishop Mulvey said.

Much can be learned about what the scouts stand for by simply reading the Scout Slogan, the Scout Oath, the Scout Motto and the 12 Points of Scout Law.  The Scout Slogan, “Do a good turn daily,” speaks on a relationship with others and doing good for them daily.  The Scout Oath and the 12 Points of Scout Law spell out how to live as good citizens.  The Scout Motto, “Be prepared,” means to be prepared for whatever comes in life by learning all you can to prepare yourself – Keeping yourself, healthy, strong and ready to meet the challenges of life.

“Not everyone, unfortunately very few I think, is aware of, understands or realizes the worth of the traditional moral values of the BSA (Boys Scouts of America).  Many people think that BSA is mostly camping, tying knots and outdoor activities.  They don’t appreciate the formation given to leadership, training, citizenship, respect for creation and our fellow man,” Art Kaler, former chairperson and current committee member of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting, said.  

Scouting has been a part of south Texas tradition for the past 94 years.  In 1919 a charter was granted to the Boy Scouts of America council for South Texas, headquartered in Corpus Christi.  The South Texas Council covers 17 counties stretching from as far north and east as Port Lavaca and as far south and west as Laredo and Hebbronville.  

“I have fond memories of participating in Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting,” Kaler said.  “Scouting was always considered a ‘good activity.’  This was before Little League and many other programs that vie for attention of the younger children and youth.  Scouting was a good influence and many boys participated.  Today there is a lot of participation in sports…Unfortunately older boys are ridiculed if they belong to Boy Scouts, but not when I was growing up.”

Despite the general trend downward in scout involvement, scouting continues to have a stronghold in the diocese and the surrounding areas.  Catholic influence has been strong in many local parishes, with Catholic schools and Knights of Columbus Councils sponsoring scouting units.  

“We have such a strong Catholic group of scouts in this diocese to help lead, to help the pastor and all of us in our parishes to help form good, healthy and wholesome consciences,” Bishop Mulvey said.

Among those receiving awards was Bishop Mulvey who received the Bronze Pelican Emblem for his guidance of the diocese over the past three years and his support of the Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting. Kaler presented the bishop with his award, which recognized Bishop Mulvey’s work in revitalizing parish life during the 100th anniversary year of the diocese, his active push to promote priestly and religious vocations and his work in prison ministry.