PROSPECT HEIGHTS — On Sunday, June 4, Scouts across the Diocese of Brooklyn overcame a series of pandemic-era setbacks when they received awards commending their growth in the Catholic faith.
The Catholic Committee on Scouting and Girl Scouting for the diocese conducted the Youth Religious Awards Convocation at Our Lady of Angels Church in Bay Ridge.
Deacon Vincent Lino, a chaplain for scouting troops in Queens, said the committee kept the religious programs going online during the pandemic. But the 35 scouts honored on June 4 got the benefit of in-person instruction.
“To get something with that many scouts was really great,” he said. “We’ve taken such a hit with COVID. A lot of the troops have not really recovered. A lot of kids have not returned, like at the churches.”
Medals with brightly colored ribbons were handed out to members of various scout troops affiliated with Catholic parishes in Brooklyn and Queens.
The Ad Altare Dei (to the Altar of God) award went to 11 scouts representing eight parishes. The honor is achieved by completing extensive course work in the seven sacraments of the Church.
Along with the course work, these scouts made a field trip on Saturday, May 13, to the Co-Cathedral of St. Joseph where they were allowed to observe a wedding. After the wedding, the co-cathedral’s rector, Father Chris Heanue, led the group in Eucharistic adoration.
“It definitely deepened my religion and faith,” said Jeevan Albert of Troop 55, from Holy Family, Fresh Meadows, Queens. “It complements all the different ideas in Scouting. We had lessons dedicated to finding comparisons between the Scout Law on the Scout Oath to the Ten Commandments and other things in the Catholic religion.”
In the oath, a scout says, “On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God and country, and to obey the Scout Law; to help people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
The Scout Law says, “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”
“Before this I never thought about those different connections,” Albert said. “But it all kind of makes sense now.”
Kathy Woods of Troop 153G, St. Anastasia, Douglaston, Queens, said she pursued the Ad Altare Dei award to grow in her faith and to find ways to stay connected to it.
“I’ve learned a lot about praying,” she said, “especially how to make my own prayers and what I should pray aloud.”
The other Ad Altare Dei recipients are (names, troops, and home parishes): Robert Crispin and Antonio Crispin from Troop 662, Transfiguration Parish, Williamsburg; Darius Macias and Ryan Macias Severino, Troop 23, Our Lady of Angels, Bay Ridge; Dillon O’Hara and John McCluskey, Troop 13, St. Anselm, Bay Ridge (Dillon) and Our Lady of Angels (John); Emily Mussalli and Maribel Perez, Troop 153G, both from Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Bayside; Kieran Woods, Troop 153, St. Anastasia, Douglaston; and Jayden Rodriguez, Troop 662, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Forest Hills, Queens.
The Pope Pius XII award is given for in-depth knowledge of Church vocations, including single, married, religious, and ordained. Recipients also went on a retreat and attended a day of reflection.
Joe Martucci, Troop 99, St. Athanasius, Bensonhurst, has earned the Ad Altare Dei but he also received the Pope Pius XII award at the June 4 convocation.
He said learning about vocations also involved discussions on celebrity Catholics like actor Mark Wahlberg. He was inspired to learn they proclaim the faith while enduring the challenges of Hollywood. “I feel it makes me better as a Catholic,” he said.
This year’s other Pope Pius XII recipients are: Tyler Kodi, Troop 49, Sacred Heart of Jesus, Bayside; Marcus Bueno, Troop 187, Immaculate Heart of Mary; Jake Harmon and Gus Harmon, Troop 99, St. Athanasius, Bensonhurst; Jana Lobmeyer and Kristen Mussalli, Troop 153G, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Bayside.
The Light of Christ award honors Cub Scouts who, with help from their parents, learn that Jesus lives, and desires to be their friend.
Those who received it are: Devin Jaimez and Leonardo Senatore, of Pack 99, St. Athanasius, Bensonhurst; Conor Pereira, Christian Inserra, and Jordan Leonardis, Pack 49, St. Mel, Flushing.
Parvuli Dei (Children of God) is the award earned by Bear and Webelo Scouts for exploring how to seek the presence of God in their lives, and how to share it with their families and communities.
Receiving this award were: Paul Paniz Perez and Daniel Paniz Perez, Pack 96, Our Lady of the Angelus, Rego Park; William Bradley and Lucas Senatore, Pack 99, St. Athanasius, Bensonhurst; Sean Casey Jr., Connor Johnson, and Max Fusco, Pack 187, Immaculate Heart of Mary, Windsor Terrace; and Keelan Fitzmaurice, Pack 268, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, Bayside.
The I Live My Faith award is given to Junior Girl Scouts for in-depth study of four themes — belief, sacraments, Catholic Christian living, and prayer. The course work is learned through programs involving art, technology, and drama.
Earning the award this year was Freya Magnus, Troop 2763, Our Lady of Angels, Bay Ridge.