Scouts learn about their history on Trail of Churches

CHARLESTON—More than 120 Scouts immersed themselves in church history by participating in the third Catholic Trail of Churches Camporee recently.

The Diocese of Charleston’s Catholic Committee on Scouting sponsors the event, which started in 2011. Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls, Squires and members of Venture Crews of all faiths can attend.

During the trail weekend, youth and their parents toured historic spots around Charleston and many of them camped out.

The central event took place on March 25, when they hiked the Trail of Churches. Stops along the trail included the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist on Broad Street, St. Patrick Church on St. Phillip Street, and St. Mary of the Annunciation Church on Hasell Street, which was the first Catholic parish in the Carolinas and Georgia. They also visited the bishop’s house, the diocesan archives and the Knights of Columbus hall.

At each location, volunteer historians shared stories, plus the kids took part in a scavenger hunt and then were met by other volunteers portraying historic figures related to the development of the diocese and Catholic Scouting.

Father Matthew Gray, Scout chaplain, portrayed St. John Paul II. Dan Wagner, a Scouting volunteer from St. Joseph Church in Columbia, played Venerable Jesuit Father Jacques Sevin, founder of Catholic Scouting.

Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone celebrated Mass at St. Mary of the Annunciation for all participants after they completed the trail. The liturgy was special because it also was a celebration of the eighth anniversary of Bishop Guglielmone’s installation as bishop.

Kathy Lynch, a member of Jesus Our Risen Savior Church in Spartanburg, walked the trail with her husband and her son, Morgan, who is a Boy Scout.

“It was a special experience because we got to visit places most people don’t get to experience when they visit Charleston, like the bishop’s house and the archives,” she said. “I’m a lover of history and it was fascinating to me.”

Christy Brandon of Columbia attended the event with her son, Johnny, 12, a Boy Scout from St. Joseph Church.

“I thought it was fantastic,” Mrs. Brandon said. “The trail was so well put together and it was a wonderful experience in general to be able to go into all those churches and learn so much about Catholic history. We really learned some new things about the Church and about important Catholic figures.”

Johnny said he especially enjoyed the visit to the Knights of Columbus hall, where he learned about the organization’s history in Charleston and what members do today.

“I really feel I know and understand more about my Catholic faith after doing the trail,” he said.

Photos by Miscellany/Doug Deas: Scouts from cities including Greenville, Florence and Charleston visit Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone’s residence (above) and the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist (top) among other spots on the Trail of Churches.