Ad Altare Dei scouting program to start in September


By Lindsay Steele
The Catholic Messenger
The Diocesan Com­mittee on Catholic Scout­ing will conduct a program for Boy Scouts and Venture Crew members interested in earning the Ad Altare Dei religious emblem. The sessions will take place this fall in the Iowa City area.
The Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) program is designed to help Catholic Scouts of the Roman Rite develop a fully Christian way of life in the faith community, said committee member Jim Pitcher.
“It recognizes the importance of a scout’s faith in his everyday life. The Catholic Church supports this by providing the scout a program which enhances the principles of faith in the scout oath, and law.”
Eligible participants must be registered members of Boy Scouts or Venture members of the Catholic faith, and have been active members of their unit for a minimum of six months. The award is designed for youths who are 13-14 years old and have completed sixth grade. Older Boy Scouts and Venture members may earn this award up to age 18 years old.
The program begins with a retreat at St. Mary Church in Solon Sept. 20-21. Three sessions will follow on Oct. 5, Oct. 19 and Nov. 2.
Remaining sessions will take place at a final retreat Nov. 15-16. Times and locations will be announced at the first retreat. The Diocesan Committee on Catholic Scouting will work to accommodate groups of at least three scouts by offering them localized class locations.
During the sessions, scouts will participate in class discussion and prayer. They will then reflect on and apply applicable sacraments to their daily life through writing, skits, posters, and service projects, Pitcher said.
Participants will need to purchase a workbook available at the scout shop or at the first meeting. The workbook contains chapters on the seven sacraments as a means toward spiritual growth.
Parents are welcome and encouraged to attend classes and may also assist with a session or help with the retreat.
Boy Scouts and Venture Crew members are encouraged to sign up in advance by contacting Pitcher at or (319) 354-4562.
During the last school year, 21 youths in the diocese received the Ad Altare Dei emblem. “The scouts spend a lot of effort and time earning this medal,” said Pitcher. “When they complete the requirements they have a great appreciation of their faith and the work required to live that faith in society.”

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