Scouting youths, adults to be recognized at diocesan Mass Jan. 28

Anne Marie Amacher
Jack Girskis with Scouts BSA Troop 199 and Kate Girskis with Troop 1199 of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bettendorf prepare to bring forward the offertory gifts during the diocesan scouting Mass in 2023.

By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger

DAVENPORT — Recognition of youths and adults in scouting programs throughout the Diocese of Davenport and the awarding of religious medals will take place at 2 p.m. Jan. 28 at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Father Thom Hennen, the cathedral’s pastor, will preside. A reception follows. Reservations are requested for a food count  at

The scouting Mass “recognizes the importance of scouting as youth ministry. At this Mass we celebrate the youth, adult volunteers and community of scouters in attendance,” said Brian Girskis, Kittan District religious emblems coordinator for the Illowa Boy Scouts of America and member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish-Bettendorf. The Mass also offers a special recognition for adults who have earned emblems or other scouting awards, said Tim Brown, a member of the diocesan scouting committee and of St. Mary Parish-Solon.

Youths and adults involved in Cub Scouts, Scouts BSA, Venturing Crew, Girl Scouts, American Heritage Girls and other scouting programs are invited to attend. Typically, the bishop presides, at Mass, blesses the medals, emblems and awards, and stresses the importance of youth ministry and service, Girskis said. However, the diocese is currently without a bishop.


“We are blessed to have Father Hennen lead Mass this year. Having the Mass at the cathedral shows unity in the Diocese of Davenport. Seeing the cathedral full of uniformed scouts and their families praising God is a beautiful thing.”

Scout Sunday is celebrated nationwide each year at the parish level, typically in early February. Scout families volunteer to fill roles for Scout Sunday Mass. “Having leaders in uniform do the readings and assist with Communion, and having scouts as altar servers and bringing up the gifts, is a wonderful way to see Catholic scouting in action,” Girskis said. Usually, the pastor blesses the “knot” for the uniform or the emblem if a scout is unable to attend the diocesan Mass.

“As Catholics we go to Mass. As scouts, we practice the scout law and are reverent. By combining Christ and scouting, great things will happen,” he said. “If you are not earning an emblem, you can support the members of your pack, troop or unit that did work hard over the last year to earn an award. Recognizing others is important and supporting their journey is rewarding for all.”

Girskis said Catholics who take the time to earn religious emblems realize rewards down the road. The National Catholic Committee on Scouting (NCCS) awarded 10 scholarships last year totaling $27,000.  These scholarships go to service-oriented high school seniors who are Catholic scouts in a BSA program and continue their education in college. (

All Catholic scouts may participate in the emblem program. Their unit’s cub master or scoutmaster can point them to their religious emblems coordinator. The award categories are Light of Christ, for Cub Scouts ages 6-7; Parvuli Dei, for Cub Scouts ages 8-10; and Ad Altare Dei, for Catholic youths registered in a BSA Troop, Venturing Crew or Sea Scout Ship. Also, the Pope Pius XII award goes to scouts ages 15 or older registered in a BSA Troop, Venturing Crew or Sea Scout Ship. Religious patch and medal programs are also available for Girl Scouts and American Heritage Girls.

The Diocesan Catholic Committee on Scouting meets throughout the year to support the mission of Catholic scouting in the Davenport Diocese

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