When it was time for Cameron Yedlin to choose an “Eagle Scout Project,” it was natural for him to decide to do something for St. William Parish. It was also a natural idea to help promote the praying of the rosary. This was the beginning of a passionate effort that has culminated in the blessing of a new Walking Rosary Garden.
St. William Parish Pastor, Father George Ratzmann, blessed the prayer garden on Feb. 2. Located on the northwest corner of the Parish property, the garden includes a walkway bridge, a full rosary with a cross laid into the ground with pavers, and there is a statue of Our Blessed Virgin Mary overlooking the entire area. There are also two benches for rest and prayer as well as a sign which serves to guide people in how to pray the rosary.
In addition to Cameron’s proud parents, Bruce and Bonnie Yedlin, a small group gathered for the blessing and congratulated the young man for a job well done.
Cameron is an active member of the Parish, an altar server at the 7 a.m. Sunday Mass each week, he also participates in Youth Group. Cameron has taken part in various mission trips and service projects and has taken part in the last several Diocesan Youth Rallies. He also joined the Diocese of Venice group that travelled with Bishop Frank J. Dewane to World Youth Day Panama City in 2019 and Krakow in 2016.
Joining the Scouts in first grade, Cameron worked his way through the ranks during the the next 11 years. He is a Boy Scout and has earned dozens of merit badges for Troop 243, far exceeding the minimum requirement for becoming an Eagle Scout, something he has dreamed about for many years.
“This has been a goal of mine for a long time,” the junior at Gulf Coast High School explained. “When I knew it was time to do an ‘Eagle Scout Project,’ my mind went right to what I could do for St. William Parish.”
Creating a proposal, Cameron approached and received an enthusiastic approval from Father Ratzmann. The proposal included designing the different components of the Rosary Prayer Walk and raising money for the supplies. He then spoke to the Council of Catholic Woman, the Knights of Columbus, the Parish Rosary Makers group, as well as the parishioners, seeking support for the project. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
“This has been a great experience.” He further explained how “so many people came together to help me with this; from the Parish staff to people I didn’t even know. It is humbling to have that support.”
During four weekends, the Rosary Prayer Garden took shape as Cameron cleared out the area of brush and dug the places for each stone paver, marking the location of each bead in the rosary or connection to take the shape of the cross. Utilizing the small space to maximum effect, and to enhance the prayerful nature of the setting, the pavers form a flowing arc around a tree and the statue of the Blessed Virgin.
The Walking Rosary Garden is an important legacy for Cameron, who said he prays the rosary as often as he can, even keeping a rosary close to him. “The rosary gives me great comfort because it is a way for me to pray to Christ through His Blessed Mother. At night, I will pray a decade or more and I have a rosary wrist band as well, so it is always with me.”
Next up for Cameron is completing the paperwork and giving a formal presentation to an “Eagle Scout Project” review board which will then determine if he will earn the elite Eagle Scout status.
Thanks to Cameron, the parishioners of St. William Parish in Naples now have a lasting legacy created by one of their own young people. Great job Cameron!!!