Seven Boy Scouts from Monmouth County troops whose action reflected their Catholic faith were presented the religious Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) emblem for 2022: from the Spring Lake-based Troop 31, Chris Burlington, St. Catharine-St. Margaret Parish, Spring Lake and Thomas Delaney, St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish, Bradley Beach; from River Plaza Middletown Troop 32, Dylan Coleman, St. Mary Parish, Middletown; from Manalapan Troop 257, Landon Hartung, St. Thomas More Parish, Manalapan; and from Howell Troop 300, Ryan DiLella, St. Veronica Parish, Howell; Nicholas Martino, St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Farmingdale, and James Genovese, and St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Farmingdale.

Barbara Dudek, who has been a member of the Catholic Committees on Scouting for over 35 years, explained that the Ad Altari Dei emblem is “for baptized Catholic Scouts to develop fully a Christian way of life in their parishes.”

She added, “The program is divided into chapters based on the seven Sacraments. For example, the Sacrament of Baptism is compared to the Scout Investiture.  The workbook asks them about their experience at the Investiture and then to compare it to baptism (investiture into the Church).”

Due to COVID, traditional acts of service performed while earning the award were suspended, such as accompanying a deacon to anoint the sick or bring Communion to shut-ins, or attending a retreat or day of recollection. But the good deeds performed might still spark faith in the scouts, Dudek said. “Scouts are known for their service and service to the Church is very important,” she stated. “Young people might find a vocation with the service they provide… From the youngest scout to the oldest, it is important to recognize their work and faith in the Church. We need to encourage [youth] to take their faith seriously.  With [fewer] priests, deacons, and religious men and women being ordained, we need to look to our youth for a continuation. Hopefully these emblems will help.”

While the Diocese’s Catholic Committees on Scouting did not hold its annual Court of Honor, a ceremony in which they recognize all Scouts with awards, out of caution to the coronavirus pandemic, several of the Ad Altare Dei recipients did attend a Mass celebrated on Feb. 13, Scout Sunday, in St. James Church, Red Bank