Catholic Scouts honored for their achievements

NEW CANAAN—Scouts from throughout the diocese were honored for their achievements at the 2019 Catholic Scouting Awards Ceremony on Saturday and reminded by Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of the importance of “walking in the footsteps of Jesus” by following the Scout Oath.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to share this great night with all of you,” Bishop Caggiano said. “You have worked very hard to receive these emblems, and I am proud of you for taking your faith very seriously because it is a great gift, and with these wonderful people who are guiding you, great things await you in the future if you stay on the path of faith.”

The bishop blessed the emblems they were to receive and then awarded them to the young men. Six Scouts received the Light of Christ Religious Emblem, which is given to Tiger or Wolf Cub Scouts in first to third grade who with their parents’ participation strive to develop a personal friendship with Jesus.

Twenty-two boys received the Parvuli Dei “Children of God” Religious Emblem for those who have completed second grade and strive to discover the presence of God in their daily lives by meeting requirements determined by their parish priest, counselor and family.

One Scout received the Pope Pius XII Award, designed to help Catholic Scouts understand God’s call in their lives. He also received the Pillars of Faith “Duty to God” Award, which is given to a Boy or Girl Scout who has earned all four Catholic Scouting emblems, demonstrating tremendous commitment to the Catholic faith.

St. Rose of Lima—Pack 570, was given the Pope Paul VI National Catholic Quality Unit Award. Joe Belasari and Chris Kirkman were honored for their work encouraging participation in the emblem program and other religious activities.

“I want to remind you that you wear an emblem on the outside to show the world what is on the inside,” the Bishop told the Scouts. “And the emblem only has real meaning if it matches what you are growing up to be…and your Scout Oath tells exactly the road map to follow. If you do all of that, you will be walking in the footsteps of Jesus.”

Several adults were recognized for their achievements.

Stephen Prostor, the Cubmaster at Pack 70 in New Canaan, was given the Bronze Pelican Award, a diocesan recognition for adults who have made a significant and outstanding contribution to the spiritual development of Catholic youth in the Boy Scouts of America.

Prostor also serves as Cub Scout Activities Chair and Roundtable Commissioner for the Powahay District. He is Catholic Religious Emblems Coordinator at St. Aloysius Parish, where he is an active parishioner and an advocate for Scouting. He also encourages Scouts to pursue religious emblem awards for their respective faith.

Hugh Welch, an active Scouter who promotes the Catholic faith in Scouting and formed Troop 20 at Our Lady of Peace, also received the Bronze Pelican Award for encouraging Scouts to pursue religious awards of their faith.

The St. George Emblem is a diocesan recognition given to adults who have made a significant and outstanding contribution to the spiritual development of youth in the Boy Scouts.

The award was given to Benjamin Strong, who has promoted the religious emblems program by helping youth earn Catholic medals, the award for Buddhism and for Judaism. A board member at the Kennedy Center, he has held leadership positions in Scouting and is active in his home parish.

Michael Szarpa was given the St. George Emblem award. The Powahay District Chairman, he is active at St. Philip Church in Norwalk and an advocate for the religious emblem program. He had held various leadership positions and serves as an American Red Cross volunteer.

Bishop Caggiano also announced that Father Rob Kinnally, pastor of St. Aloysius Church and chancellor of the diocese, has been chosen as the new chaplain for the Scouting program with Father Andy Vill’s decision to discern a vocation to the religious life. He praised both priests as being “truly Scouts at heart.”

Father Kinnally said, “It is an honor to be the chaplain to Scouting. I was a Scout and loved it all through my young years in Yonkers, New York. I see the formation value of Scouting and a great future ahead with our Scouts, so it is a real honor.”