A dozen Boy Scouts and one Girl Scout hailing from around the Diocese have been recognized with honors for learning about and living their faith through Scouting.
Scouts proud to receive religious awards
“I feel accomplished that I was able to go above and beyond … and really learn more about my faith,” said JT Silver, 17, a member of St. Rose of Lima Parish, Freehold, and senior in Marlboro High School. “For people who are in triumph or despair, they can always turn to their faith for a stable force in their life.”
Silver received the Pope Pius XII Emblem this year, and said in earning the award that he most enjoyed interviewing deacons from nearby parishes, and learning about their opinions on topics ranging from relationships to servitude.
The National Catholic Committees on Scouting instituted the religious awards program more than 30 years ago. Projects that serve the Church and the community allow the Scouts to earn both national- and diocesan-level awards.
While the Diocese’s Catholic Committee on Scouting annual Court of Honor was postponed this year due to health restrictions related to COVID-19, Scouts have still been receiving their medals to wear proudly on their uniforms.
Patty Wilbur, a member of St. Gabriel Parish, Marlboro, and a religious emblem counselor, worked with groups of Boy Scouts in Monmouth County to earn two different medals.
For the Ad Altare Dei emblem, Scouts engaged in community service and outreach while learning more about their faith. That process included interviewing a deacon, speaking with a married couple, helping an elderly relative or neighbor, and working on a project with an assisted living facility.
“The boys learned more about their faith, more about the Sacraments and what they could do to live the Sacraments,” said Wilbur, a parent who works with Troop 18.
The Pope Pius XII emblem is the final religious award Scouts can earn, and involves helping youth move into adulthood with faith through discussions about various social situations, as well as current events.
“A lot of them will be going off to college, [and] they are learning how to walk in their faith individually, and how they will use their faith in the workplace, in their family [life] and in their college experience,” said Wilbur, who noted that the Scouts used online platforms to continue working toward the medal when in-person meetings could not be held. “It was really wonderful to see the boys work on that last emblem, especially through COVID.”
Wilbur’s son, Robert, will graduate from Howell High School before attending Florida State University in the fall. He earned the Pope Pius XII medal and believes the process “has enriched my faith and my character.”
“Earning the Pope Pius XII emblem is most certainly fulfilling because it is the last emblem in the Catholic series, and it concludes the journey of my religious group within Troop 18 – much like my Scouting journey as a whole once I turn 18,” he said.
Lucia Street, 10, a member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Whiting, attends Berkeley Township Elementary School, Bayville. She was the only Girl Scout to earn a religious emblem this year – the I Live My Faith medal.
As part of her journey toward earning the medal, she participated in a pilgrimage to the National Shrine of St. Rita of Cascia, Philadelphia, with her parents. She was able to meet with a priest, receive a tour of the church and shrine, and learn about St. Rita and St. Nicholas of Tolentino.
“It was nice to visit a different church, and a church that is a shrine. St. Rita's is beautiful,” she said. “Part of the Girl Scout promise says ‘to serve God and my country’; serving God is important to me. I love Girl Scouts and my faith, so working on the medal came naturally to me.”