The 2022 archdiocesan Emblem Sunday Scouting Mass recognized scouts and adult leaders with medals of faith at St. Patrick’s Cathedral May 1.
Retired Auxiliary Bishop John O’Hara offered the first Scouting Mass since 2019. The Mass was not celebrated for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It was fabulous to see (the Mass) because I know from the adult leaders on the commission the sadness the scouts felt in not being able to do the Mass for two years. Hopefully everyone understood that really everything closed down for two years,” Father Herbert DeGaris, archdiocesan scout chaplain and pastor of Immaculate Conception parish in Stony Point, told CNY.
Father DeGaris distributed the medals to this year’s honorees with Bishop O’Hara, and recognized 2020 and 2021 honorees, who previously received their medals and were in attendance at the Mass.
Bishop O’Hara welcomed the scouts and their families to St. Patrick’s before delivering an inspiring message in his homily.
“His homily was right on,” said Chris Kristensen, chairman for the archdiocesan Committee on Scouting. “He said there is a trail in life and don’t listen to people who want to steer you off the trail, and if you’re true to the trail, you’ll succeed.”
Kristensen added scouting remains important for the boys and girls involved.
“It’s more important than ever,” he said. “The virtual world some of these kids live in, they are not prepared for adulthood when it comes and scouting in a safe way puts them in places where they can test themselves and gain confidence in themselves and become very resilient people compared to their peers.”
Father DeGaris, who was attending his first Scout Mass since assuming the chaplain role in 2019, shared a flashback of receiving his medals from Cardinal Terence Cooke as he was distributing medals to today’s scouts. He’s hopeful that the Scouting Mass will return to being an annual gathering at St. Patrick’s.
“I would love to see a continuation of obviously the programs of faith development for the scouts,” he said.