By Allyson Escobar and Tim Harfmann
A former Boy Scout himself, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio touted the virtues of the scouts during a visit to Ten Mile River Scout Camps in Sullivan County in the Catskills on July 9.
“It’s very important to men who are involved in it, and it’s always good for the diocese to show their show,” Bishop DiMarzio told The Tablet. “So I do enjoy coming up for the day.”
Bishop DiMarzio celebrated Mass outdoors at Our Lady of the Lake in Crystal Lake, Camp Keowa. During his homily, he spoke of the Boy Scouts of America’s motto: “Be prepared.”
“We don’t have a lot of leaders. We have followers, okay? A lot of followers on Facebook, on all the Twitter, all that stuff,” he told campers, staffers and members of the diocese’s Catholic Committee on Scouting.
The Brooklyn Diocese has sponsored both Boy and Girl Scout units for over a century, and is the largest charter partner of Scouting in New York.
As a Boy Scout, Bishop DiMarzio earned the title of “life rank,” the organization’s second-highest honor after Eagle Scout. He was also a scout troop leader before he entered the seminary.
During his visit, Bishop DiMarzio urged campers to open their hearts and consider following God’s call.
“Either [you are going] to be married, or priests or religious or something, but that’s important to make that choice early on,” he said. “Usually God calls us, not when we’re old, but when we’re young.”
The camp upstate offers scouts a chance to have a simpler, less digital life experience.
“It’s a time for all of us to escape from the world of technology, just for us to relax and earn different merit badges and learn new things,” said Joseph Magliulo, an Eagle Scout and member of Troop 139 from Our Lady of Grace Church in Howard Beach.
More than 1,600 children are attending Ten Mile River Scout Camps this summer, including 750 from the Brooklyn Diocese.
“It’s an important time for them,” Bishop DiMarzio said. “We want to encourage them.”
Monica Amador contributed to this report.