Girls and boys from throughout the Diocese of Venice participated in Mass on May 21, 2023, at Epiphany Cathedral in Venice wearing the uniforms of their Scout troop.
Designated as “Scouting Sunday,” the Mass, which fell on the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, was followed by an award ceremony in the Parish Hall to celebrate and recognize the girls and boys who commit themselves to scouting while remaining true to the Faith. Members of the Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, American Heritage Girls (AHG), Fraternus, Troops of St. George, Trail Life USA, and the Vietnamese Eucharistic Youth Society participated in the ceremony.
During a reception following Mass, Bishop Frank J. Dewane presented dozens of Scouting Religious Awards, with some Scouts receiving multiple honors.
Bishop Dewane told the Scouts that it is his prayer that the awards will continually give them encouragement to strive forward in their relationship with the Lord.
The awards earned from the National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) Religious Activities Awards included: Rosary Series, Marian Series, Faith Series, Footsteps of American Saints and Modern Saints. Diocesan Scout Awards included: Child of God, Our Lady, Mother Mary, Queen of the Rosary, Spirit Alive, and Pillars of Faith. The National Committee Boy Scout Awards included: Light of Christ, Parvuli Dei, and Ad Altare Dei. American Heritage Girls Scouting Awards included: Tenderheart Faith – God and My Family, Explorer Faith – God and My Country, and Explorer Faith – God and My Community, and Patriot Faith – Women of Integrity (these awards are earned in different segments). Each award requires the Scout to participate in different activities which help increase their Faith. The awards become more difficult to earn as the Scout advances.
Additionally, the Pope Paul VI National Catholic Quality Unit Award was presented to Pack 226, of St. John the Evangelist Parish in Naples, and American Heritage Girls Troop FL1203, of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers.
During the ceremony, Diocesan Scout Awards Coordinator Bob Paquette presented Bishop Dewane with the Quality Diocese Award, which is given to a Diocese for its commitment to supporting Catholic Scouting. This is the 14th year in a row the Diocese of Venice has received this award. Historically, less than half of the Dioceses qualify for this important award.
Recognizing the hard work and commitment that the Scouts from throughout the Diocese of Venice make to earn the Catholic Religious Awards, Bishop Dewane congratulated each of the award recipients and all Scouts.
Participating in the ceremony was Scouts Chaplain Father Lawton Lang, who is an Eagle Scout, National Committee Member Connie Kantor, as well as Marthamaria Morales, Diocesan Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, who served as the emcee.