Scouts honored at Mass

Anne Marie Amacher
Bishop Thomas Zinkula presents the Ad Altare Dei religious emblem to Connor Eads following the scout Mass Jan. 29 at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — “Today we celebrate scouting, especially the spiritual side of scouting,” Bishop Thomas Zinkula said during Mass Jan. 29 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. He presided at the Diocesan Mass for Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts USA and American Heritage Girls, the first scout Mass since 2018.

Bishop Zinkula reflected on the concept of “blessed” as it related to the beatitudes in his homily. Blessed means to be made whole, lucky and happy, he said. In advertisements and in today’s culture being happy is associated with those who are powerful, rich, famous and beautiful. “If we are truly honest with ourselves, we will admit that deep down in our hearts, many of us want those kinds of things.”

Bishops Zinkula made comparisons between the beatitudes, which Jesus taught in Matthew’s Gospel, and the core values of scouts. For example, the beatitude regarding those who mourn, “Calls us to reach out to those who are grieving with a caring presence, a word of comfort, a loving embrace,” the bishop said. Those who are meek, who restrain their anger, who don’t become bitter because of what life may bring, exemplify the qualities of a good scout — “cheerful, brave, courteous.”


Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who live according to God’s will, exemplify people like Dorothy Day, “renowned for her outspoken views and actions against war and nuclear weapons, but also for her solid Catholic personal beliefs and devotions.”

The bishop continued to compare the qualities of the beatitudes with the ideals of the scouts: helpful, reverent and obedient, which are demonstrated in religious scout programs such as the Light of Christ, Parvuli Dei, Ad Altare Dei.

Christians live the beatitudes in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, which Bishop Zinkula identified. The corporal works of mercy: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, help the sick, visit the imprisoned and bury the dead. The spiritual works of mercy: instruct the ignorant, correct the sinners, forgive others, comfort the afflicted and pray for living and dead.

The beatitude regarding those who are clean of heart reflects another core value or quality of a good scout. Have pure motives/intentions, the bishop said. Conform thoughts, desires and actions to do God’s will. “Be selfless and have integrity, which is a fundamental value of scouting.”

The beatitude about peacemakers speaks of those who make and create peace in an active way, the bishop said. “Being a disciple of Jesus isn’t a state of being. It is an action.”

Blessed are the persecuted can be applied to the courage it takes to “let people know what we believe” rather than “avoid mentioning it because we don’t want to be known as a ‘religious’ person, a ‘religious nut,’” the bishop said. “Are we truly willing to take up our cross and follow Jesus?” he asked.

“Who wants to be poor, weak, lowly and despised,” he continued, referring to the beatitudes. “Another way of asking this question is, ‘Who wants to be like Jesus?’ The beatitudes are a description of Jesus.”

Pope Francis says the beatitudes are a path to joy and true happiness mapped out by Jesus for all of humanity, Bishop Zinkula said. The beatitudes contain the “identity card” of being a Christian. “If we walk the way of the beatitudes, we will reap the rewards that are promised in them. Not power, honor, pleasure and material things. But the reward that is awaiting us, which is Jesus Christ himself.”

Following Mass, the bishop presented Light of Christ, Parvuli Dei and Ad Altare Dei religious emblems to several youths through Boy Scouts of America programs. He also presented Deus et Patria Mea awards to girls from American Heritage Girls program.

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