By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Scouts from across the Diocese of Davenport celebrated together during the Bishop’s Mass for Scouting and Religious Emblems Ceremony Feb. 28 at Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Around 150 Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Venture Scouts and others, along with leaders and family, attended the 2 p.m. Mass. Bishop Martin Amos presided. Concelebrants were Father Ron Hodges, chaplain for the Diocese of Davenport Catholic Committee on Scouting, and Father Mark Spring, Region 7 chaplain.
“One of scouting’s mottos is to be prepared,” Bishop Amos said during his homily. He talked about the excuses people make for not having time to pray. Children have to play. There’s school work to do. Young people are in sports. Young married couples are starting their new home. Older couples have activities to do. “So how do we fit God into our lives? Or better yet, how do we fit into God’s life? Where is that holy ground where we can meet God? Hopefully it is in prayer or at Mass,” the bishop said. “Sometimes it can be in something we are struggling with. The important thing is to hear God.”
The bishop encouraged the congregation to review the events of each day at the end of the day and to ask, “God, where did I meet you today?” Sometimes people don’t realize they’ve met God that day until they go back over the day, he noted.
Following Mass, Bishop Amos blessed each set of medals to be presented to scouts for the religious emblems ceremony. Fr. Hodges noted that the purpose of the Catholic religious emblems program is to help scouts grow in their Catholic faith.
Twenty-six Cub Scouts received the Light of Christ emblem. This program helps Cub Scout develop a personal relationship with Jesus. Thirteen “Parvuli Dei” (Children of God) emblems were awarded. In this program, the boys explore a wide range of activities to discover the presence of God in their daily lives. Eleven Boy Scouts earned the “Ad Altare Dei” (to the Altar of God) emblem. This program is designed to help scouts develop a fully Christian way of life within the faith community. All scouts in attendance were invited to receive a patch from the bishop.
Boy Scout Mitch Nikulski of Troop 24 with St. John Vianney Parish in Bettendorf received the “Ad Altare Dei” emblem at his first diocesan-wide scouting Mass. He thought the Mass and ceremony were well put together and said it was nice to see so many scouts from across the diocese being together.
Adult recognitions were also presented. The Bronze Pelican recognizes adult leaders of Boy Scouts of America and supporters of scouting who have contributed to Catholic scouting as youth ministry. Fr. Hodges said these leaders often have served in ministries in their parishes as well. The three recipients were Diane Gehrke, Timothy Broghammer and Timothy Brown.
Gehrke is a member of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport where she is involved in many activities, is a registered nurse, a volunteer in the community and has been involved in scouting for many years.
Broghammer is a member of St. Mary Parish in Solon and of the Knights of Columbus and is active in scouting and scouting committees locally and in the diocese. Brown is also a member of the Solon parish and has served the parish in a variety of roles, including with the Knights of Columbus and in scouting committees at various levels.
Broghammer and Brown both said they had an idea that they were going to be recognized because they had to submit information about themselves. But it wasn’t until they opened their programs that they learned they were receiving the Bronze Pelican.
The final honor, the St. George Emblem, is awarded by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, acting through the local diocese. It is presented to adult scout leaders and scouting supporters in recognition of contributions to the spiritual development of Catholic youth. James Pitcher, John McKillip and Bishop Amos received the St. George Emblem.
Pitcher is a member of St. Thomas More Parish in Coralville where he is an active member in the parish and Knights of Columbus, as well as Troop 207. He has received the District Award of Merit and Silver Beaver and is on a variety of scouting committees. McKillip is a member of Holy Family Parish in Fort Madison where he is involved in the parish, Holy Trinity Catholic schools and parish finance councils. He has served in a variety of roles on scouting committees. Fr. Spring accepted the award for McKillip who was unable to attend.
Bishop Amos was surprised when he was named the third recipient of the St. George emblem. “During his time with us,” Fr. Hodges said, the bishop “has strongly supported our Catholic schools, faith formation programs and Catholic scouting – and even accompanied our youths to NCYC five times.” The diocesan committee further expressed its appreciation with a certificate for the bishop.
The awards ceremony and Mass are very special, especially for the boys, Brown said. It links scouting, their faith and their closeness to God.
Broghammer added, “It’s all about the kids.”