By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — Religious scouting emblems and adult recognitions were bestowed upon dozens following the Bishop’s Mass for Scouting Feb. 19 at St. John Vianney Parish. The annual Mass typically takes place at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport but was moved due to construction.
During his homily, Bishop Martin Amos said the Scripture readings were not chosen for the Scout Mass; they were the readings everyone heard this past weekend. “But I think, as scouts, they should have a very special meaning and lesson for you.
“Just listen to a few of the things we heard: Be holy, for I the Lord, your God, am holy. Love your neighbor as yourself. You are the temple of God.” The first three statements are very true, Bishop Amos said. In the day’s Gospel, “What Jesus gives us are some very real lessons for us as Catholics and followers of Jesus, but also for you as scouts because I believe these are some of the things scouting is also trying to teach.”
He encouraged those at the Mass to look at the readings more closely. The bishop referred to the passage: “You have heard it said: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” It comes from one of the earliest known codes of laws, the Code of Hammurabi which goes back over 4,000 years ago.
“I image some of you have used that logic as well: ‘Why did you hit your brother . . . he hit me first. I’ve only given back to him what he did to me.’”
But Jesus’ approach to the law was the beginning of mercy, the bishop said. Its purpose was to limit the vengeance a person took. “When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one as well. Jesus is telling us not to seek revenge. You might have a reason to seek retaliation, but Jesus says not to think so much of our rights, but of our duties and not of our privileges, but of our responsibilities.”
In the readings you have heard it said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies.”
We use the word love in a number of different ways, the bishop continued. People can say they love their dog, they love pizza, and they love their parents. But those are different kinds of love and in Greek they have different words to describe each.
Jesus uses the word “agape” in referring to love of enemies. “This is the highest kind of love. It means that no matter what that person does to us, no matter how much we don’t like the person or what the person does, we still choose to love the person. We might avoid them, and that’s OK. We don’t have to be friends with everyone. We do not wish our enemies evil. I would hope you have a deep feeling of love for your parents. This kind of love is not a feeling; it is a choice to love.” It is the kind of love that God has for each person. He may not like what we do, but never stops loving us.
Following Mass, the awards ceremony for scouting religious emblems and adults recognitions was held. The following awards were presented by Bishop Amos:
• The Light of Christ religious emblem is for Cub Scouts in first and second grade. With parents’ help, the program helps boys develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
• Paruvli Dei or “Children of God” is earned by older Cub Scouts who have received their first Communion. This program relates to the family and requires parents or other adults to help the scout grow in his knowledge of faith.
• Family of God for Brownie Girl Scouts, helps girls discover the presence of God in their daily lives. As members of their families, parishes and scouting units, the girls begin to recognize God’s presence in every element of his creation.
• Ad Altare Dei or “to the Altar of God” is for Boy Scouts aged 12-17 who have completed sixth grade. It is based on the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church and is designed to help the scout develop a fully Christian way of life.
• Pope Pius XII emblem is for Boy Scouts aged 14-18 and Venture Crew members aged 14-21. This study helps scouts examine their calls from God. The scouts look at their current and future choices in an effort to better understand how those choices in life states, occupations and ministries in the church can affect others.
• Bronze Pelican recognizes adult Boy Scout leaders and supporters of scouting who have significantly contributed to Catholic Scouting as youth ministry. These leaders often serve in ministries in their parish and positions in the Boy Scouts of America programs, as well as the community.
Michael Pintar and Byron Tatti received this year’s Bronze Pelican.
• St. George Emblem is awarded through the diocese by the National Catholic Committee on Scouting. It is presented to adults scout leaders and supporters of scouting. The emblem recognizes great contributions to spiritual development of Catholic youth.
Timothy Brown, Denise McMonagle and Father Ron Hodges III received this year’s award.
Following the ceremony, Ariel Nikulski received the Girl Scout Family of God award. The third- grader from Lourdes Catholic School in Bettendorf said she didn’t know of anyone earning the award before and thought it would be good to earn. “It was really cool to meet the bishop.”
Byron Tatti of Troop 3, which meets at St. John Church in Burlington, said the troop came as part of the 100th celebration of Boy Scouts in Burlington. Theirs is the oldest Boy Scout troop in the state of Iowa. He said several of the boys earned scouting emblems. “It’s a great way to promote our Catholic faith and show the importance of our church.”