FORT MILL — A group of Boy Scouts from Troop 219 in Fort Mill recently traveled to Columbia to be awarded the Ad Altare Dei medal during the annual Boy Scout Convocation held at St. Joseph’s Church.
The Mass was presided over by The Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone, bishop of Charleston. Guglielmone runs the Catholic Diocese of Charleston. which comprises all of South Carolina and is one of the oldest Catholic dioceses in the United States.
Troop 219 is chartered through Saint Philip Neri Catholic Church in Fort Mill and meets at 7 p.m. Mondays. The 25-member troop goes on at least one outdoor activity per month which may include camping, hikes, and day trips. Troop 219 is fully equipped with tents and other equipment for troop activities so Scouts need to bring only their gear.
All Scouts have the opportunity to earn a religious medal regardless of their faith. The Ad Altare Dei (to the altar of God) program is for boys of the Catholic faith. The program consisted of several weeks studing the Christian way of life along with active participation in the church. The program is aimed at strengthening the Scouts relationship with God and the church and concluded with a Catholic retreat held in Columbia in January. The retreat was attended by 65 Catholic Scouts and consisted of several breakout sessions throughout the day. Each boy appeared before a board of review and the retreat concluded with Mass.
Their efforts were rewarded during a special Mass held at St. Joseph’s Church in Columbia. The church service coincided with Scout Sunday, which is held the first Sunday in February. The Boy Scouts of America annually celebrates its founding on Feb. 8, 1910, based on the program started by Lord Baden Powell in England on Aug. 1, 1907. The Scout Sunday tradition was started in the 1940s to make people in houses of worship be aware of Scouting, and to allow Scouts to live out their “Duty to God” pledged each week. The Scout Law says that a “Scout is Reverent” and Scouts of all ages promise to do their “Duty to God.”
Bishop Guglielmone presented each boy their medal during Mass, which was followed by a reception when the Scouts, parents, and friends gathered with the bishop to enjoy fellowship and refreshments.