Earning religious emblems connects faith and Scouting

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COLUMBIA – Catholic scouting has opened up a whole world of new possibilities for Stas Watson of Mount Pleasant.

The 18-year-old shared his experiences with the crowd at the annual Catholic Scout Convocation on Feb. 2 at St. Joseph Church in Columbia. The event honors Scouts who have earned religious emblems during the previous year.

Watson, a member of Venture Crew 1907 at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Charleston, said he is an example of how the religious emblem program helps prepare young Catholics for a life of commitment to the faith.

“I’ve learned about the importance of vocations and considered a vocation to the priesthood, I became an altar server, I went on retreats and I took part in the St. George Trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico,” he said. “…I’ve learned that God has called each and every one of us in a special way. We all have a duty to work for our country and for God.”

The convocation drew members of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls, a faith-based girls’ group. Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone presented emblems to the young people and thanked them for their dedication.

“I am aware how much work goes into these emblems and that they are not easy,” Bishop Guglielmone said. “Wear your medals with pride, and remember you are not just Scouts but Catholic Scouts. In your Scouting lives, show that faith means something to you. It is that faith that helps us make sense out of our daily lives.”

Fifty Boy Scouts and Venture Crew members received the Ad Altare Dei emblem, and 23 earned the Pope Pius XII award. Eleven Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls received the Mary, the First Disciple emblem, two Girl Scouts each earned the Spirit Alive and St. Agnes emblems, and six Boy Scouts completed Pillars of Faith.

Bishop Guglielmone said he was happy about the large group who earned the emblems, and challenged the Scouts to increase the numbers next year.

Tommie Robinson, 14, said he spent about six months working on the Pope Pius XII and Pillar of Faith emblems. He belongs to Boy Scout Troop 20 in Mount Pleasant and attends Christ Our King Church.

“It was a lot of work, but it gave me a chance to grow deeper in my faith and learn about different aspects of the church I didn’t know about before,” he said.

Emily Poplawski, 12, completed the Mary, the First Disciple program along with five other members of Girl Scout Troop 2074 at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Spartanburg. One of their projects included presenting live tableaus of scenes in Mary’s life for members of the parish.

“It was a really cool experience to work on the emblem because I learned that Mary was a real woman who went through a lot of different things in her life,” Emily said.

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