Scouts of all ages celebrate learning about the Catholic faith at annual Scouting Mass
Story and photos by Terence Hegarty
SPRINGFIELD – Demonstrating their commitment to their faith, more than 100 Catholic Scouts and Scout leaders from several areas of the Diocese of Springfield gathered in prayer Nov. 3 for a special Mass in St. Michael’s Cathedral here.
The 1:30 p.m. liturgy, known as the Catholic Scouting Mass, also served as a venue for the Scouts to be publicly recognized for the religious emblems and awards that they earned.
The annual celebration hosted members of both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America. Springfield Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell was the principal celebrant for the liturgy.
The Mass also marked the 59th anniversary of Catholic Scouting in the diocese. The liturgy and awards ceremony were organized by Father Eugene J. Plasse, diocesan Scouting chaplain, and members of the Diocese of Springfield’s Catholic Committee on Scouting.
“It’s the crowning achievement of all we do for Catholic Scouting and religious emblems,” Father Plasse said. “It’s a wonderful treasure to learn your faith and to share it with each other.”
Father Plasse has been sharing the faith through Scouting in the diocese for more than 35 years. He serves as pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in Palmer.
The Mass was con-celebrated by Father Plasse, Associate Scouting Chaplian Father William H. Wallis, pastor of St. Peter and St. Casimir Parish, and by Father David M. Darcy, pastor of Holy Cross Parish in Springfield.
“Scouting and religion (work) very closely together,” said Boy Scout Ethan Pilon, “God can help you; He can guide you on the right paths in Scouting,” he told iobserve.
Pilon, a parishioner of Holy Cross Parish in Springfield and a member of Troop #275, received the Ad Altare Dei (at the altar of God) Award. He said that working toward the award helped him and his fellow Scouts to learn “how God plays a role in the sacraments.”
Pilon, an eighth-grade student who has been in Boy Scouts since first grade, was one of seven local Scouts who were bestowed with the Ad Altare Dei Award. At the end of the Mass, the seven Scouts put on a theatrical production, demonstrating to the congregation some of what they had learned as they worked toward their award.
“I think that this (Mass) is important because it gives boy Scouts and girl Scouts time to officially get their awards that they’ve worked very hard on,” said Morgan O’Connor, a Girl Scout who was recognized for earning her Bronze Award. O’Connor is a parishioner of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Parish in Westfield and is a member of Troop #40222.
O’Connor, a sixth-grade student, joined Girl Scouts as a Daisy in kindergarten. She said that as she earned her Divine Mercy award, she learned about St. Maria Faustina and the Divine Mercy message.
Pilon said it meant a great deal to him to be able to attend the Mass. “It was amazing. Seeing all of the people that are a part of this, it was great.”
While much of his emphasis is on Catholic scouting, Father Plasse is quick to point out that any denomination can participate in Scouting and that there are religious awards for nearly every denomination.
Catholic Scouting is one of the more than 40 ministries supported by the diocese’s Annual Catholic Appeal.
For more on this story, tune into an upcoming edition of “Real to Reel,” the Diocese of Springfield’s television newsmagazine that airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.