By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — Although he was never a scout, Deacon John Jacobsen looks forward to learning more about the scouting program and promoting the faith through scouts. Bishop Thomas Zinkula appointed Deacon Jacobsen as the new scouting chaplain for the Diocese of Davenport. He takes over that position from Father Ron Hodges.
Deacon Jacobsen said he received a phone call from Deacon Mike Snyder, the diocese’s diaconate director, asking whether he would be interested in becoming the new scouting chaplain. “I knew in my heart I would say yes,” Deacon Jacobsen said. However, he wanted to discern that call and talk with his wife, Tracy, before making a final decision.
He told Deacon Snyder during that initial call that he had never been a scout and neither were any of his siblings. Deacon Snyder told him that was OK.
“I remember John talking about teaching and working with kids when we were in deacon formation; I could tell he enjoyed it because he would get excited when he talked about them,” Deacon Snyder said. “I think I have a pretty good rapport with youths,” Deacon Jacobsen agreed.
Deacon Snyder visited with Don Boucher, diocesan director of the Office of Faith Formation, and Denise McMonagle, who chairs the Catholic Committee on Scouting, about the appointment of Deacon Jacobsen to the scouting chaplain position.
Deacon Jacobsen has helped at the diocesan scouting Mass in the past, so he knows about the religious medals for Catholic youths in the various scouting programs such as Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Girl Scouts, Venturing Scouts and American Heritage Girls.
In his new role, he plans to promote integrating faith into scouting and encouraging boys and girls to earn religious medals. He would like to explore the possibility of collaborating with neighboring dioceses for retreats.
The diocesan scouting Mass with Bishop Zinkula is scheduled for March 29 at 2 p.m. at St. John Church in Burlington. Deacon Jacobsen hopes attendance at this diocesan Mass grows each year.